Tuesday, July 29, 2008


"Why?" This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Think about talking to a two-year old who has just discovered this time-perplexing and mind-numbing question. They ask, "Why do I have a belly button?"
You say something cute like, "Because it is where God kissed you."
"Why?" comes back again.
"Because God loves you."
"Because God loves everybody."
"Why?" "Because God is love."
Well you get the picture.
Giving a close to scientifically correct answer, "You have a belly button because when you were growing in mommy's tummy before you were born, that is where you and mommy were connected." Well, you know the "Why?" is coming and there are details here that you are not really sure you want to explain to a two-year old.

Today, I am struggling with "Why?" I am not two-years old, but the question is haunting me. A 21-year old man died this weekend in a local swimming hole. He is a friend of a member of the congregation where I serve. They met working together for a company that hires adults with learning problems.

As a parent of a child with learning issues (my younger son has Down-Syndrome), I know the family has asked "Why?" many times over the course of 21 years. "Why is our child not like all the rest?" "Why does it have to be so hard?" And now the question for this family has changed to something even more profound, "Why is he gone?" "Why did he have to die?" "Why has God done this to us?"

To try and explain, "Why?" is useless. There is no good answer to this question. If we knew why, it might be more painful than we could endure. And knowing why does not take away the loss. But this does not remove the reality of God's all encompassing GRACE and LOVE. Yes, it still hurts, and yes the questions will still come in the night, "why . . . why . . . why . . . why?" And still God is there with us, holding us, keeping us, weeping with us and for us.

I have no answer to the "Why?" this morning. I can only look to my faith and to the mercy of Christ, who loves us in all things. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, does not insulate us from the many hard things in life. It does remind us that the hard things are not the final answer. The story does not end with a child being born with learning disabilities. The story is not finished at the bottom of swimming hole. The final word is not death. As a follower of Christ, I know the final word is hope for all God's children, life abundant, resurrection is the face of death, future with no limitations.

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