I sat in the car with our other five kids while David walked into the grocery store; it had been three weeks since I had given birth to my stillborn son, but was still unable to walk more than a short distance. I witnessed the “brother” coming out of the store. He had attended the church fellowship we had broken away from – all within the same cult. It was a good break, the former having told me my re-marriage was “unscriptural,” “unforgiven,” divorce was never, under any circumstances acceptable. Even though I did not embrace the Christian faith until a couple years after my marriage to Dave, even though I had several kids with Dave, even though my ex-husband was marrying another woman, I was to divorce Dave and pray for reconciliation of my first marriage. Thank God David had some common sense – as for me – I had nightmares of my infants being cast into the “lake of fire” due to my “sins.” We have been married 30 years now and he is my best friend, confidante, partner, lover – my life.
From this line of thinking this man emerged and approached Dave in the grocery store parking lot. Later Dave would relay the conversation with clenched jaw and pain filled eyes, “Did the Lord show you where you missed it brother?” was the first question he asked. “Where’s the sin in life,” others would go on to ask, “You need deliverance from a “Molech spirit” still more. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! Did we really get sucked into a form of religion that believes this? Or treats each other this way? No one said, “I’m sorry, how can I help?” “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” No sign of compassion or thought for a grieving father but, “Did the Lord show you where you missed it.” After all, Dave had to have missed it for the, name it and claim it, if you have faith, nothing will ever go wrong mentality.
I’d like to say I never see this in mainstream Christianity, but I do – some more than others and much more prevalent in some circles. How can we reconcile the miraculous works of God we have witnessed (and I have – many – true miracles in our own lives) and intense suffering? Easy, it is a matter of correct Theology, understanding God is sovereign, and Who what are we trusting in. If losing a child, a job, a home, family members (the many things we have lost) delivered us from a cult, from arrogance, bad theology, to have empathy and love for others, and to be more like Jesus, then I God is a heck of a lot smarter than I am. Jesus suffered. Period. He modeled it for us. We live in a broken world. Period. End of story. God is love. Period. Even when it doesn’t feel it. Even when we hate Him in protest of the evil surrounding us. Period. Our pea brains will never fully comprehend God and I no longer need to. I just need to model God’s love for humanity and instill hope in a broken life. That is all any of us can do – if we choose to.
I don’t know what happened to the “brother” who wanted to know where we “sinned” in losing a child. Maybe he has lived a pain free life with perfect children and no loss. For his sake, I hope he has learned empathy; I hope he has learned what the the love and grace of Christ really looks like. I know I have, and brother wherever you may be, I forgive you.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Cor. 1:4