pain

How do I Reconcile God, Suffering and ‘Taken’?

This is a movie that always rattles my faith in God. But when you watch it, you just can’t look away.

taken-film

‘Taken’, starring Liam Neeson, tells the story of an ex-spy (Neeson) whose daughter, Kim, has been kidnapped by a European sex trafficking ring.

It’s a fast-paced, well-crafted, gritty story, and it shows all too clearly that the illegal sex trade is not just a third world problem.

In the movie, Neeson basically shoots his way through the continent to rescue Kim. Along the way, he witnesses some of the brothels where they take the kidnapped girls. Suffice to say, it’s horrific.

Thankfully Neeson rescues his daughter in the nick of time. But as you watch, you see so many girls who don’t get rescued. And while the story is fiction, the issue is not.

The movie is a strong reminder that not everyone’s life is as protected as mine. And it makes me question God.

How can the God who says ‘trust Me’ when I stress about little things like work, also be the God who watches over those girls?

What does He say to them? Does He love them?

At the moment I’m writing the end of my second novel, Hating Jeremy Walters. Two of my characters are also struggling with the question of God’s love, but in very different ways. One lives as through she has to earn it. One believes she can never earn it. Both attitudes are wrong. And the lesson that I’m teaching my characters, I often must repeat to myself.

At the end of the day, we have to view everything through the lens of the cross. (I’m pretty sure I stole that line from Experiencing God,  so full kudos to Henry Blackaby).

The truth is, God loved us enough to watch His Son die for our sakes. It seems impossible to imagine suffering worse than what those trafficked girls endure, or what Syria and Iraq are enduring right now. But God Himself, through Jesus, experienced worse. It wasn’t just in the physical pain of the cross, but in being separated from God the Father and taking the full weight of our sin.

I struggle to understand how God can witness such suffering, like what we see on the news or in movies like ‘Taken’. I wish He’d just fix it.

But then I remember, it’s mankind doing those things, not Him. And while He could stop it, He must have reasons for waiting.

It’s tempting to doubt whether God loves people, if he allows such terrible things to happen for them. But God endured even worse things for those same people.

This is a case where I don’t understand, but I do know. I don’t understand how He can bear to watch, but I know that God loves us all. I know He cries alongside us. I know His motives are perfect and pure. He proved it 2000 years ago.

I’m just going to have to trust that.

Big Surprise

I was nervous when I submitted my latest guest blog post for Angela D Meyer’s website—until I received an email that blew me away.

Angela D Meyer

To backtrack, when I was trying to decide what to write, I noticed that Angela’s guidelines allowed short stories. My mind jumped to a story I wrote a few months ago, Nightmare. I thought it was the one most likely to connect to her demographic of readers.

The next morning, when I sat down to look at the story and decide whether to use it, I had an overwhelming feeling that the story was too strange. People don’t read short stories very often, and this one was different to the other stories I’d written so I wasn’t too sure about it.

But I looked at my other ideas for a blog post, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I flicked open my Bible on a whim, wondering if a verse would hit me in the face. The page landed on Isaiah 55:9 (NIV); “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

I figured that was pretty obvious. I might not think that people would connect with the story, but maybe God had other ideas. I sent it off to Angela, letting her know that if she didn’t like it I could do something else.

The story tells the experience of a young mother in hospital, waiting to hear if her infant son, Josiah, will live or die. It addresses the topic of where God is when we’re in pain.

I got this email back from Angela:

“Just read your short story. I love it. Very powerful. I have had 2 miscarriages and one of the babies we named Josiah. The emotions that threaten to pull you down can be overpowering. I am sure this story will be relatable to many women who have lost babies. Have you experienced this yourself? The emotions you voiced hit the mark.”

Wow. I was stunned. What a co-incidence! And I almost didn’t send it!

For the record, thankfully I have not experienced a miscarriage. I am not a mother, but I do have a six year-old sister, and my worst case scenario is something happening to her or another member of my family. I wrote the story out of a desire to better comprehend God’s attitude toward human suffering.

So, it looks like even though I wasn’t too sure about what I was doing, God knew better than me what was going on!

If you’d like to check out my guest post—and the rest of Angela’s site— click here.

Nightmare

What use is God when we’re in pain?

It’s a tough issue.

I wrote this short story, Nightmare, as a reminder to myself of God’s character.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.” Hebrews 4:15

Nightmare

It’s not your usual cheery Christmas fare, but hopefully it’s still good. 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!