Are you angry with God? Do you look around at all the injustice, hatred, and pain in the world and ask yourself, how could a God that is all love and compassion allow this to happen. How can He let us live lives filled with such sorrow and torment? How could He let my loved ones die such cruel deaths? How could he let rapists and murderers steal our little children and do such awful things? How could God let beasts such as Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, the Black Plague exist in this world where he lets his children play.
Why not baby proof the place a bit?
It’s a simple question, possibly the simplest question ever asked. It’s incongruous to us why God would let such awful thing coexist with his beloved children. Would you tell your children to run out and play by the in-ground pool. Oops, you fell in and drowned. Free will… what’re ya gonna do? You fell in. I told you to be careful. I told you to take care. I guess it was meant to be.
And it burns us up. It makes us angry. Does it make you angry?
I was doing my weekly session at the juvenile prison last week and I had occasion to express to my young pupil a bit of wisdom that came to me in a flash. It was inspired by these children, some of them murderers, car thieves, drug addicts, robbers, and petty crooks. It was inspired by what I saw in their faces, their innocent baby faces.
"You see," I said, "It’s like a child with its father. You have any kids?"
"No," he said.
"Cousins, nephews, nieces?" I asked. He said that he did, but I realized that he might not get what I was about to say. I’ll try it anyway, I thought. Can’t hurt.
I asked him if he saw babies crying because they were hungry, tired, or needed a diaper change. I asked him if he had ever tried to explain, or saw someone explain to the baby why it was crying. "Did the baby respond properly? Did the baby stop crying because it now understood. The irritation, its angst, now made sense, so it calmed down. He laughed and said no. Of course not. His laughter lifted me. He was going to get this, I thought.
It’s interesting to note, that parents will never ever be able to fully explain, allay all fears, take on all burdens from their children. In adolescence, parents attempt to explain the feelings of awkwardness and rejection as normal. Everybody feels that way, they say. Meanwhile, the child thinks or says that they couldn’t possibly understand. How could they? How could they understand the pain I feel right now? I’m living it. You parents can’t understand what it’s like.
Every time a parent tries to explain, or convey experience and wisdom to a child, the child rejects it. You won’t understand until you live it. You will try to explain it to your children but they will reject it. All you can do is be there to pick up the pieces and try to cajole, motivate, and guide. All you can do it change the diaper, bring the food, soothe the restless nights and hold them when they cry.
If you believe in a God with whom to be angry, can you at least see through that clouded consciousness of your childhood and see a father who wants to help? Can you at least realize for a brief instant how we can’t possibly understand what’s to come next, and by next, I mean tomorrow? Can you see yourself as a child who cries and doesn’t know why?
If I know anything about being a father, it’s that when I hold Olaia or Jaimito, I would do anything to take away their pain, their frustration, but I can’t. I can’t because there is no way in the universe I can convey experience. And what is experience if not a combination of pain, joy, suffering, and happiness?
You don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water do you? It’s okay, though, if you’re angry with God, I’ll give you a hug if you need it. I understand. I empathize. I hurt too, but I know someone who hurts more. He’s been locked up at the age of 17. He has no father. His uncle is in prison. He best friend was gunned down. He has no education. He’s poor and a drug addict.