Sometimes things happen that remind me, in heartbreaking ways, that one (and only one) of three things is true:
God doesn’t exist.
God exists, but is horrible.
God exists and loves us more than we can possibly begin to understand.
I have my own conclusions about this which inform my thoughts about our sufferings as humans, although I understand why people come to a different conclusion.
I suppose I think suffering is for the shaking off of everything that is shakeable (note: people themselves are never “shakeable” or expendable. God loves us, our friends, our spouses, our parents and our babies even more and better than we do).
The thing that is so hard and confusing is that we only see small bits of what is true. Like when my toddler thinks it’s the end of the world or that I’m torturing him on purpose when I have to give him medicine because he’s sick. If we can, out of love for our children, do things they don’t understand for their own good, I don’t think it’s impossible that God could do things like that with us.
Apparently, I can accept this for myself much more easily than for people I care about. It is a hard thing for me to trust God with someone else’s crisis or tragedy when I so little understand all that is happening in the world.
One day I offered E. some gummy bears during S.’s nap and she declined because she didn’t want to enjoy them without her brother. What I feel is a little like that.
Sometimes I wish I was still the kind of person who had easy answers for every problem.
C.S. Lewis on this topic, just after his wife’s death:
“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask–half our great theological and metaphysical problems–are like that.”