I've never really felt a need to prove that God exists. Before today that is, when my tawny-headed, freckle-faced son looked up at me with his enormous blue eyes and cried If God is real why doesn't he stop all the bad stuff? Why Mom, why?
Feeling like I'd been slapped hard across my face by the earnestness and veracity of his question, I realized I don’t want to even touch that question.
Honestly I try not to dwell on that now as I sit here with all my advantages – I enjoy my life, drinking my expensive coffee, in my warm house, sitting in my comfortable chair, at my computer that is connected 24/7 to the world. I try not to think about my fortunate life or those that have so much less.
No I don’t want to touch those questions. But sometimes that awareness aches inside me and makes my comfortable life not -- so – comfortable. I cannot escape the world when I turn on the radio or television or get online. It is there that I find out about people being beheaded. Women who had acid poured on their face. That going for firewood in some places in the world will get you raped or assaulted. Or that being born a girl is still something unwanted in many places in the world. much less and more importantly why God put me here. Why I am so seemingly blessed? And others appear less so?
At other times I try not to feel the hardship, injustice, suffering and painof others. I try to not be in that moment because it hurts. And it makes me angry.
It makes me angry when repeatedly I have to tell my kids to “Eat their dinner and be grateful!” Reminding them how very lucky they are to have something to eat and a glass of milk to wash it down. And when they complain that there is no desert, I won't remind them, again, of how much we have.
I feel indignant when my extremely bright, but bored children bring home reports of below average work, and then they complain about homework. I will not scream at them about their lost opportunities. Should I remind them of the children in many parts of the world that will never have an opportunity to even go to school? Probably. Or tell them that there are kids they know at school who didn’t have dinner last night. And when they complain about walking less than half a mile to school, should I mention the many children in our country that cannot safely walk home from school?
I try not to scream inside, I really do but when I let myself see and feel the pain that leads me back to my son -- proving God exists to my son who has so much, for the question remains why would a good God make life so easy for us and so unbearably horrendous for so many others in the world? And is it random stupid luck that my kids healthy, smart and born into a well to do home?
I have -- no-- answer for my son when he asks me to prove God exists, because what kind of God would set things up like that?
My son, my children, were fortunate enough to be born into a white, upper-middle class home, with a life chock full of privilege and opportunity; a life thus far lacking the violence and cruelty that so many children around the world face. My children, for no reason of their own, have power and wealth before they have even begun their lives. They have been given opportunity and responsibility. I believe God intends that they do something with this power and privilege, for others.
God is gentle, good and powerful. God gave us moral freedom, the power to choose and if we like we may choose to reject him, the creator. (Isaiah 40:11, 12) His intent is to rescue and redeem the world by giving his son.
That is the tension. We have the freedom to choose. To see. To hear. To know. We prove God exists and that he cares about the suffering in the world by seeing and speaking out about injustice and prejudice, by a knowing awareness of those that have much less and by working against poverty and hunger and need in the world.
By hearing the cries of those born with less we prove God actually loves the world.
We are his love. We are his hands and feet. We are a part of his answer to the evil and injustice in the world. That is the paradox. We who have been given much ... and no, not only me, my sons and daughters, but each of us reading my words and wondering about this today – We are God's love. We prove God exists by our actions, choices, by our love.
And something beautiful arises.
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