Thursday, February 3, 2011

Friday's Faith Can a Good God Be a Cosmic Sadist? ~by Angie Prince, with C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Friday's Faith

Can a Good God Be a Cosmic Sadist?

~by Angie Prince

with C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is in this matter hardly less formidable than a cosmic sadist.

The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed--might grow tired of his vile spirit--might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety.

But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.

But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't.

Either way, we're for it.

What do people mean 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good?' Have they never been to a dentist?

~C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed


Early on in our grief, my son Nathan and I would talk and would agree that if our God felt the need to take Merry Katherine at the time He did, it must have been what was best for her in the long run, and as much as we love her, we want what is best for her, even if it means we will suffer the rest of our lives. She is safe, and she is in Heaven. Well, God gave us many, many moments of grace like this early on...

Living this faith out has been a living nightmare, often feeling more like a living hell.

I even had the audacity early on to say to Tommy,

"We did everything we knew to do (and then some) to try to keep her alive, but now she is in Heaven, safe with God. So now we just grieve; how hard can that be?"

Sounds great on paper. But the devil is in the details as they say. And it seems every detail is like living hell. Every day is painful in its own unique way. Every day we miss her. Every day we realize how much our worlds have changed without her in it. Every day we feel the parent's angst of losing our little one before we could even get her launched into life.

And yet indeed, the truth still remains: God is good. He works everything--ultimately--to our good. He has conquered death. Our baby girl is alive--just away from home here, but safely Home There. And we do trust God. We don't understand all His ways. But we know He knows what He is doing. And we know His ways are not our ways. But we know His way ultimately wins.

Even so, her loss is painful. Every day is a walk of faith. Every day is a trial of faith. We walk "without seeing," and so our faith muscles are stretched every day. It is hard. We cry. We are comforted. And then we hurt again, and cry more. We miss her. We love her. We long for her. Our bodies, hearts, minds, and souls have been traumatized.

We have been face-to-face with the devil and his work, facing evil of the worst kind. We have seen death itself. We have seen not only death, but the death of our own child. We know evil now like we've never known it, and we will never be the same.

We walk with a limp. We often barely function. We live the invisible disability. Cortisol courses through our bodies. We don't recognize ourselves any longer. We are accident-prone. We are not thinking clearly.

We still have the graces of early on, of knowing she is with our Lord which is an absolute blessing. But never, ever should anyone think this walk is easy. It is a life interlaced with debilitating pain.

The Surgeon would not stop before the operation was complete or all the pain up to that point would have been useless....

but what if, in the process, He cut out our hearts...?

Pictures thanks to


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