Thursday, November 30, 2006

christian-speak: maybe it's just a mad lib?

in following some links via one of bill's recent posts i came across this passage:

"Here is how Pastor Bugh described his wife’s struggle with cancer and death: “Cancer is horrible. We hate it. My wife had a horrible experience, and she died a brutal death. On the other hand, we believe God is sovereign. He doesn’t delight in this. God permits what he hates in order to accomplish what he loves. It’s part of his plan.” In a conversation the day before she died Rob related to the reporter that Carol had expressed a deep disappointment about leaving her family behind. Rob notes that he assured her “We’re going to be OK. Life on the other side, in the presence of Jesus, was going to be incredible.”

"God permits what he hates in order to accomplish what he loves."

this, for me, is one of those empty christianisms that is meant to be hopeful but ultimately leaves me without any greater understanding. i am quite aware that my response to this is more visceral than academic (because i don't really know how letting people die long, painful deaths accomplishes anything that God loves) -- but putting personal experience aside, i just don't get it. i can't follow the logic, or even conclude that it is logical at all.

does someone smarter than me want to fill in the blanks? i promise, i'm not being cynical. there is no eye-rolling going on as i type. i'm really just looking for some hope.



Anonymous said...

I don't know that I can offer any hope or explanation to you, but I thought I would comment so that you know that (somehow, in some form) I'm here with you.

I did have a book come to mind though, if you're interested; it's called "When God Weeps" and it talks a lot about "why suffering?". It's changed my perspective on it quite a bit, as well as my perspective on the proper response to it. You can borrow my copy, if you want (or I'm sure the Bean-man can get it for you.) ;)

I'll be praying for you guys. *hugs*

~KJ (of 2a)

Amy H said...

I certainly can't offer any explaination on this. When we sat under "the great Phil Kenneson" (how he would shudder at those words) in his Problem Of Evil class, the only sort of assurance I came to was that the friend of Job, who came and sat quitely, was the most helpful to him.

The others, who all tried to offer helpful information, simply made matters worse. Although we would say today that our understanding of theology is far more advanced than theirs was at the time, I fear we really know very little more (if anything more) about God and how God operates than they did all those years ago.

The comments like the one on the blog usually send me to the moon; how can we really believe that God wants/allows the suffering for good? I hope that those sorts of comments are just another sort of Xtn speak for "we don't really know how God operates, but we believe God is good and are hopeful that there is purpose in it." Or maybe that's just me being my liberal/hopeful/cynical self.

love you :)