Counting Our Losses

Who has ever been happy with a loss?

Have you ever seen anyone happy when their loved ones died? Have you ever seen anyone jumping for joy when their businesses fail? Have you ever seen anyone who just got laid off and yet partying like there’s no tomorrow? Have you noticed anyone who was left by husband, wife or lover and still have that twinkle of joy in their eyes?

We have been through that loss one time or another

Otherwise you are not human.

green-funeral-living-markerA loss is a loss and no matter how we try to connect any explanation to it, we could never get it back. What remains are memories of things of the past that make you curl into a ball of misery when the memories return. There are no explanations. There are no pats on the back that everything will be OK.

When these things happen we turn to that Man-Up- In-The-Heaven to voice our complaints. When we hear no answer we dismiss Him and question His very existence just because no explanations were given for the loss. It’s as if it was our right to demand explanations. It was as if it was our place to complain when all our lives we have neglected Him and only ascribed to Him when the going gets tough. And if ever you have devoted your whole life to His service, it is still not your place to complain for your losses because He is not answerable to us. In fact it is the other way around.

“This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.

Isaiah 45:11-12

Then again, who should be accountable? Who is to blame? Is it wrong to question God?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAs Christians, we were told not to question God. We are told to obey Him, revere Him, to honor Him, to praise Him and follow His ways. We are also told to love Him. And so, that is what we do. This is what we treasure and practice. We take care to walk the straight path that He has set and give Him the praise and worship that is due Him. We even give tithe as part of our devotion and relationship with Him.

Yet are we allowed to be angry at Him? For a better explanation, I bring you “The book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person” by Harold Kushner. An exposition on the book of Job, he has this to say about being angry at God:

“Until now, we have been told in the Torah to revere God, to obey God, to honor God, to follow in God’s ways, but not until now have we been told to love Him, because you cannot love someone wholeheartedly (“with all your heart”) unless you feel free to be angry at that person when circumstances warrant. The wife who is afraid to complain to her husband when he does things that annoy her for fear that he will be upset with her and maybe leave her cannot truly love him wholeheartedly. She is censoring her emotions, withholding her true feelings. The adolescent who is afraid to share his feelings with his parents because he is afraid they will mock him, cannot love them. And we cannot love God with all our heart and with all our soul if we feel we have to censor our feelings, to pretend love and gratitude when we don’t feel them. If we are angry at the way life has treated us but feel we can’t speak out against the unfairness of God’s world, we are being emotionally dishonest in our prayers. Those are honest feelings; why should we not be able to share them with God? Being angry at someone who matters to us—a parent, a lover, even God—need not shatter a relationship. Anger can be a part of an honest relationship. Ultimately I would like to think that we will come to realize that God is on our side, and not on the side of the misfortune.”

Strong words, but I fully agree.

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