I love Jesus. I love God. I love His Truth. I love people. But I don’t love packaged Christian answers. Those that tie everything up in a nice neat bow. And make life a little too tidy.
The Problem with Christian Answers
Because there just isn’t anything tidy about some things that happen in our broken world. The senseless acts of violence we hear about continually in the news are awful and sad and so incredibly evil.
And God help me if I think I’m going to make things better by thinking up a clever Christian saying to add to all the dialogue. God certainly doesn’t need people like me—with limited perspectives, limited understanding and limited depth—trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense.
Is there a place for God’s truth in all this? Absolutely. But we must, must, must let God direct us. In His time. In His way. In His love.
And when things are awful we should just say, “This is awful.” When things don’t make sense, we can’t shy away from just saying, “This doesn’t make sense.” Because there is a difference between a wrong word at the wrong time and a right word at the right time.
When my sister died a horribly tragic death, it was because a doctor prescribed some medication no child should ever be given. And it set off a chain of events that eventually found my family standing over a pink rose-draped casket.
Weeping. Hurting. Needing time to wrestle with grief and anger and loss. And it infuriated my raw soul when people tried to sweep up the shattered pieces of our life by saying Christian answers like, “Well, God just needed another angel in heaven.” It took the shards of my grief and twisted them even more deeply into my already broken heart.
I understand why they said things like this…they wanted to say something. To make it better. Their compassion compelled them to come close.
And I wanted them there. And then I didn’t.
Everything was a contradiction. I could be crying hysterically one minute and laughing the next. And then I’d feel so awful for daring to laugh that I wanted to cuss. And then sing a praise song. I wanted to shake my fist at God and then read His Scriptures for hours.
There’s just nothing tidy about all that.
But the thing I know now that I wish I knew then is that even Jesus understood what it was like to feel deeply human emotions like grief and heartache. We see this in John 11:32-35 when Jesus receives the news that his dear friend Lazarus has died, “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother [Lazarus] would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”