The patient really believed her cancer was somehow “God’s amazing plan for my life.” She went on to say the things I always hear: “He won’t give me more than I can handle. Thank God we caught it early. God is going to use this for my good.”
I get why we say these things, because we’re such creatures of story that we rush for coherence. But even when such theology is true, I want to tell her that it’s okay to say this whole ordeal is terrible and that it really hurts and that we live in a disordered, chaotic, fractured, fallen world where the current of sin devours everything, that bad things happen to model citizens, that nothing is as it’s meant to be, and the people who don’t catch the cancer early aren’t well enough to thank God for anything, and that not every pain is meant to be a spiritualized, connect-the-dots lesson as if God is some cruel teacher waiting for us to “get it.”
Pain doesn’t always have to be dressed up as a blessing in disguise. God hears our frustration about injustice and illness: for He is just as mad at suffering as we are. He doesn’t rush our grief. He bled with us, too, in absolute solidarity, and broke what breaks us in a tomb. He is the friend who meets us in our pain, yet strong enough to lead us through. I can only hope, in some small measure, to do the same.
6 thoughts on “We Bleed, All The Way Up”
Reblogged this on Antiquarian Anabaptist and commented:
“We live in a disordered, chaotic, fractured, fallen world where the current of sin devours everything.” I love that phrase and it pretty much sums up the thoughts that were going through my mind today.
I was sitting with my wife as the chemotherapy drugs were dripping into her bloodstream and meditating on the twisted theology of well-meaning Christians who trey to explain that God sends, or permits, cancer, leukemia and such things for His honour and glory. What I read in the Bible is that God created a paradise and when Adam sinned it opened the door for all manner of evil to enter this world and there has been warfare ever since between the forces of darkness and God’s true light.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
Bob, thank you so much for your honesty and for sharing this. It breaks my heart and somehow fills me up, too. I’m with you on this. Prayers sent.
HE DOESN’T RUSH OUR GRIEF. Yes. Too much lately I’ve felt like we only give a certain amount of grace until we expect results. But there’s no rush with Him.
I’ve always believed He moves at our tempo and pacing, only prodding when necessary. Such is His patience and persistence.
[quote]God hears our frustration about injustice and illness: for He is just as mad at suffering as we are. [/quote]
Yes, yes, yes! And He does love us so much that He wants to set us free. I often think, since He loves us so much, we must, when praying, let ourselves be captured and raptured by His love for the ill person – when we do, the Holy Spirit can start doing things His way.
Thank you, yes. 🙂