Sunday, December 16, 2012

Learning Through Pain

I was on my way to Stevens Pass when I first heard the news about the shootings at the Connecticut school. Like everyone else, I was saddened, disturbed, outraged and heartsick about the tragedy. Over the next few hours, surrounded by the natural beauty of the snow-covered mountains, I tried, as we all did, to make sense of this horror.

At the end of the day, these words - paraphrased from something written by Madeleine L'Engle that I once read - are the only thing that truly made any sense to me:
There are three ways to understand the world: 
1. There is no God, there is no order or plan to this world, and our lives have no meaning. 
2. There is a God who created us and this world, but he is indifferent to our sufferings. He allows or even causes horrible things to happen to us; he judges and punishes us for reasons we cannot comprehend. 
3. There is a God who cares for us. Although bad things happen in the world, this loving God is in control of our world, and can work bad situations for his own loving purposes, beyond our capacity to understand.
Among us, there are people who see the world in each of those three ways. They all have their reasons for claiming that they alone are right. And it's hard for any one to prove the others wrong.

But I cannot live my life according to the first or second versions.

Whether eternity will prove me right or wrong, I choose to believe that there is a God who loves me, who loves you, who loves not only the children and adults who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School but also the deeply disturbed young man who killed them as well as himself.

I choose to believe that despite the shocking evidence to the contrary, a loving God is in control of this situation, as well as the countless other tragedies, big and small, that unfold every day in the corners of this planet, as they have from the beginning of time.

And I choose to believe that with his unfathomable mercy and grace, our loving God is working all of these tragedies for good. My imagination cannot begin to grasp how he does it, but I guess that's why he is God and I am not.
"I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly." 
"Just because we don't understand doesn't mean the the explanation doesn't exist." 
"The unending paradox is that we do learn through pain."
                                                                                         - Madeleine L' Engle 

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Wanna read about all the twists and turns of my ill-fated 2012-2013 ski season? Check these out:

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