Life is not fair. If it was, how many of our current top elected officials would find themselves on career paths where they would be constantly asking others the existential question, “Would you like fries with that?” The Bible says as much when it implies that in this world, godliness and success often part ways. Jesus said of God the Father, “He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust”. Sometimes I wonder if God is being overly generous with rain to the unrighteous. Consider the hurricanes that keep battering New Orleans and the flooding in New York and New Jersey. Come to think of it, in the Old Testament, God does punish nations and cities for their wickedness. However, on the level of the individual, there is little distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous when it comes to bad things happening.
I was recently in church and realized that a surprisingly high number of families in that Covid-reduced congregation had suffered the untimely loss of one of their own children. I can’t imagine the agony that they had to go through and yet, there they are in the church, seemingly more faithful than many who haven’t experienced such gut-wrenching grief.
Unless you’ve experienced such a loss (and I haven’t) there doesn’t seem to be that much that you can say. You may get your head around it but not your heart. Your heart is not experiencing the same level of brokenness of as theirs. That was the mistake that Job’s friends made, waxing philosophical and eloquent about Job’s sufferings, sufferings which included the deaths of all his children. At the end of the book, God shows up and reprimands Job’s friends and commends Job. “Friends” isn’t really the most apt descriptor; they are more like pop-up pundits or egregious experts. When reading the Book of Job, I kept thinking that Job was going to get thunderbolt- zapped because often he seems to be railing against the Almighty and asserting his own innocence and God’s unfairness. Yet, at the end of the book Job is praised by God as a faithful follower. Not only that, but all that was taken from Job is restored, and then some.
I hesitate to philosophize on the grief of another, especially as God seems to view that with distinct disfavour. But I wanted to offer this insight that is very much out-in-left-field. One aspect of God I have always been convicted of is His incredible mind-boggling power. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, My thoughts above your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. To me this is evidenced by God thoughts materializing into everything that exists from the level of molecular cellular machinery to the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. You and I are God’s thoughts.
With my chemical engineering background, I know that only in a fictional universe will Peter Parker get bitten by a radioactive spider and mutate into the amazing Spiderman. Only in a fictional universe will some other hapless non-hero fall into a vat of acid and emerge with super powers to place at the service of the good. But I would sooner believe Marvel movies than in a blind chance-created universe. For that to happen, you need to believe that inorganic molecules would break all the entropy laws and spontaneously assemble into the giant DNA, RNA and protein molecules in the correct amounts and concentrations, along with everything else needed to make the living cellular liquid with a cell membrane to boot. Then you need to believe that a series of countless mutations build on one another to go from a single cellular organism to a human one as well as those of countless other organisms, past and present. And to top it off, each mutational jump has the equivalent likelihood of a human getting superpowers from a brief bath in an acid vat.
When I look at the design found in life, I see clearly that God’s thoughts in comparison to human thoughts, are as high as the heavens are above the earth. The intelligence in the design is truly mindboggling. I am gobsmacked. But scripture says that “God is love.” That seems to be His most deep seated quality. Could it be that God’s love in comparison to human love is likewise as high as the heavens are above the earth? Whatever happens to us is orchestrated by an Entity who loves us more than all others, including ourselves. While our will is always free, we are constantly and relentlessly being pursued by Love Himself.