Fed Up With God

Last night I participated in a reading of short stories by several writing groups in Manchester, VT. It was a fun, laid back time. I read a little from my story that will appear in the Southshire Anthology and my short parody of a Dan Brown novel. Yet, the evening took a very serious turn when one woman, who is dying of cancer, read short segments of her memoir.

While she did cover some humorous events from her life, the bulk of her story was essentially an indictment against God and Christians. Disappointment, disillusionment, hurt, incongruity, and so on: she has moved beyond hopelessness and despair to outspoken critic of God. I could list some of her charges, but they are nothing new. Not to take away from the validity of her offense, but all of her problems are well known to the church. They must be dealt with now and are inexcusable. Of course she brings her own baggage to church, but don’t we all?

My aim is not to share her indictment. My aim is to talk about our course of action as Christians when faced with those who are so hurt by the church and militantly opposed to God as this woman. Part of me wants to say to her, “God is not bound by religion.” Another part wants to say, “Are you sure you’re not just making up a God who doesn’t exist?” And another part, “Just because people have failed you doesn’t mean God has.” Or there’s the question I really want to ask but know I shouldn’t, “I think you’ve put up a wall between yourself and God, not the other way around.”

In truth, I’m far beyond pat answers with such a person. I’m also beyond just being nice. She regularly makes statements that are offensive and intended to stir things up. She seems to be taking shots at God, waiting for lighting to strike, and then smugly continuing on with her indictment when nothing happens. She wants people to react and respond. I don’t know when I’ll see her around town again, but I wonder if I should say something, anything at all. I’m not so much worried about “defending God.” He can take care of himself and doesn’t need me to “stick up for him.” My focus is on seeing the freedom of Christ come to her, freeing her from pain, hurt, and bitterness.

But where do we begin?

One thought on “Fed Up With God

  1. Melody

    Ed, I know the frustration in dealing with someone who is bitter towards God. The hard reality is, however, that we cannot and dare not ascribe too much responsibility to the church, emergent, evangelical, or otherwise. It is so easy to think, "if only we had done this, or, if only the church would do such and so," then this person would realize that God loves her. What you and I do not know is the condition of her heart. We can see the outward manifestation of what we "think" might be the problem, but we would be guessing. With that said, I will now guess and say that maybe she is stiving with the Holy Spirit, and for whatever reason has hardened her heart. If this is the case, would mean that deep inside, she really knows the truth (Romans 1:20) and knows that she has to change. What we need to do for this woman is to PRAY for her. We need to PRAY that God, through his Holy Spirit, will reveal His love for her in a way that she CANNOT ignore.

    I know of a man who passed away last night whose sons have all received Jesus and have served the Lord most of their adult lives. All of the family sought to somehow bring this man to salvation. He rejected the Lord over and over again for nearly 40 years. Three days ago, on his deathbed, with his sons, he received Jesus into his heart, weeping and asking forgiveness for having had a hard heart. Long ago, his sons had given up trying to "do" something or "say" something that would win him to Jesus Christ. Instead, they promised each other that they would pray for their father. It took being near death for their father to be able to acknowlege his sinful nature and humble himself before the Lord, receiving the salvation that had always been there for him.

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