In life we will suffer. We are born hurting – screaming out our pain as we enter the world. And some of us will die that way too, in car accidents, victims of violence, or perhaps on the losing end of a horrible fight with cancer.
In between, we grapple with loss. Loss of friends, loss of family, loss of innocence and loss of home. Through waves of pain we ask “why?” Why does a good God allow those he loves to suffer?
The question itself can cause estrangement and suffering. We will never fully understand the answer to WHY?
Didn’t God make that clear with Adam? “Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge,” he said. Instead he invites us to worship at the tree of life.
At some point we have to recognize that not knowing is OK. Ambiguity is OK. If I know anything it’s that God is God and I’m not him. He is the keeper of “why?” All I need to know is that he is good and he loves me. I can trust him.
And in that place of not knowing, he invites us to dance. It’s the dance of dependence. God wants intimacy, but we can only get there through dependence. We get there by leaning into him. He wants to be trusted.
Like a willful schoolgirl at the Cotillion, we want to lead. But intimacy only comes when he leads. We will never know enough or have enough.
When we have to depend on him because of our lack of resources, when we say “Yes” and allow him to lead, suddenly we will find we are dancing with him.
There’s nothing like it. It’s why we fast from food – to feel the lack and move to dependence. It’s why we go on kingdom journeys – we feel the strangeness of new places and our own vulnerability. And we lean into God in new ways.
Too many of us stay mired in an Old Testament kind of faith where God leads through lists and certainties. It’s the faith of engineers. Inventories and polemics will never get you to faith.
In the New Testament our Creator invites us into relationship and from there into intimacy. We can’t help asking “why?” but if we allow that to be a reason not to trust, then we will miss God. It’s a righteous thing to choose him in spite of the fact that our faith questions still hang unanswered in the air.
But we can only go there if we accept his invitation to dance.