Many a times the last couple of years, I have been “comforted” by those dearest to me with the cliché, “bad things happen for a reason.” The phrase does not give perspective nor healing. It does not facilitate a deeper understanding of life or injustice nor does it bring two friends closer who can be a part of their Healer’s wholeing. It does not give peace nor does it take a load off the hurting’s back. It does not answer any questions nor does it acknowledge loss or tragedy. It does not bring one closer to God nor does it bring forth truth.
What it does do, is dismiss pain. It alienates one to not think they can be understood. It is an attempt to place blame on the shoulders of the invisible and shackles an individual with “perceived control” in order to find the reason, for closure to come to fruition. It fights the acceptance of what can not be fought. Reality does not change with one’s refusal to accept what is….loss. It is a shallow method to not have to recognize the somber reality that we humans have very little control. We live in a broken world of sin and decay, of disease and famine, of luxury and loneliness, of world changers who don’t have enough time to change the world. We live in a world of the happy family who has their innocence shattered by the inexplicable. A world that does not discriminate who it devours in order to feed its’ unquenchable hunger. But here we live, and here we struggle, and here we love, and here we comfort, and here we carry, and here we sacrifice, and here we listen, and here we bear our souls as we plead to be carried by our One Hope.
But, “God is good. God is great.”, is not enough. Spiritual cliché and hollow words of a well intending tongue do not sustain, and often they push the broken hearted further from the only Source of Strength. They do not give life. They do not heal. They do not give hope. They do not prop up those who cannot stand on their own. As a follower of Christ, having grown up in the church, I can spit it with the best of them, but that does not sustain if I don’t see the moment for what it is. And that is the challenge.
Christ never said that life would be without tragedy. “God is good. God is great.”, or “Bad things happen for a reason.”, would not have meant anything in Gethsemane. All He asked for was for those He loved, to be present with him, and their own physical needs prevailed as sleep overcame. So, let us be real. Bad things don’t happen for a reason, but there can be good and lessons learned from the fire. We can experience God in a different way. We can learn how to love in a different way. We can also show that in our tragedy, our Hope that is not of this world can sustain. He can heal. He can carry. He can provide. He can move mountains. And He can love, but that most often does not come by words. It comes through our actions as hands and feet and ears and shoulders. It comes through our choice to listen to another’s pain, and have no answers. It comes through understanding and our humility as we accept the fact that we cannot solve or take away the pain, but that we are willing to walk with our friend. To cry and to feel the pangs one cannot carry alone. We must be willing to place our needs aside and stay awake and pray and wipe away the blood sweat off His brow. Christ is not revealed in us in our haughty spirituality if we are not even willing carry the cross for Him, to quench His thirst as He hangs awaiting his last breathe. My friend, let us go be part of this world’s wholeing. Let us be willing to place our self aside and trust that in the most hopeless of places, if we are willing to be our Healer’s instrument, He will give us the inspiration to hurt with, to carry, and to love another in a way that is not of this world. But most often, it will require placing ourselves in the mire with those who have…. inexplicable loss.