IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Dini Garcia in Florida. She gets a free book for asking a question that made the cut for the Monday Question of the Week feature.
Here’s her question:
I have a friend who has had a terrible loss. As a friend, I have tried to reach out to him. I feel so hopeless, and all I can do from a distance is comfort him with quotes from the Bible. My heart is broken for him! Where is God when these situations occur?
Yeah, that’s the big question.
I struggled with that in a blog I wrote after that kid shot all those kindergarten children: Can’t Almighty God stop a shooter?
I’m not sure where the God of heaven and earth is when tough things happen…when survivors are left with a massive loss: a dead child, a spouse, a parent, even a pet (I’m learning from Buddy the Dog, who is healthy at the moment).
Last week a nephew of mine emailed me. He said he was asking around to find out what one question people would ask God if they could.
So he wanted to know what question I would ask.
I wrote him back. I said the question I’d ask is:
“What in the heck were you thinking?”
I was kind of kidding. But kind of not.
So much of Creation makes no sense to me.
- Survival of the fittest with its top of the food chain/bottom of the food chain…critters killing critters to survive.
If God’s a Good Guy, this can’t be the way he wanted it.
And what has been going on among we humans for as far back as history can trace us can’t be what he intended for us.
If he’s the Good Guy, something somewhere went terribly wrong.
But what about your friend who’s hurting?
Where in the world is God?
Let’s ask Jesus.
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. I will not leave you alone like orphans.
In a little while the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever.
This Helper is the Holy Spirit. (Excerpts from John 14, New Century Version)
I don’t know why God lets bad things happen. And I’d really like to know what in the heck he was thinking.
But I believe that when a family member or a friend or anyone in our general vicinity suffers a loss, in at least some real sense, it is God in us who reaches out.
At 1:15 on a November morning my wife and I got a call from our 22-year-old daughter, sobbing hysterically. Fresh out of nursing school and working at a children’s hospital, she was helping another nurse with a baby. The other nurse accidentally stuck her with a needle that had been in the baby.
Protocol required that the child’s blood be tested.
The rapid test came back positive for HIV.
Our daughter was calling from the car. The supervisor was sending her home.
I think I know where God was about 45 minutes later.
He was standing under a streetlight hugging my daughter and crying.
He was me.
And he was my wife.
We drove to where our daughter lived. We beat her there by about five minutes.
She pulled up behind us and got out of her car.
My wife reached her first.
It’s one of the most vivid, poignant scenes of my life: watching my wife and my daughter cry beneath a street light at 2 in the morning.
I don’t know how God was there for my daughter, exactly. If he was there just in me and my wife. Or if he was there some other way, too. But I’m pretty doggone sure he was there.
If Jesus wasn’t kidding, at the very least God was there because I was there. And because my wife was there.
So here’s the question. Where is God for Dini’s friend?
Jesus is in God. Dini is in Jesus. Jesus is in Dini.
So, Dini, be God to your friend.
I don’t know how you’re supposed to do it. But I think the Helper knows. He’s in you, too. If Jesus wasn’t kidding.
None of this makes sense to me. I can’t understand how it works.
But I know it does.
I’ve seen it under a streetlight at 2 in the morning.
Epilogue: Our daughter did not contract the HIV virus. Later, more accurate testing, showed that the baby did not have the virus. By the time we found that out, about a week later as I recall, our daughter had already started HIV-fighting treatment with some hardcore meds—which she was delighted to stop taking.