“Forgive God For Being A Word”

by Zoë Pollock

Mark Gordon reflects on prayer for loved ones:

In this morning’s newspaper, there’s a story about a young man who was killed last night in a one-car auto accident. Was anyone praying for him? Was anyone protecting him? Was his death just bad luck or some awful form of grace? If I give thanks to God for saving my family member’s life, does another family have the right to assign him the blame for their crushing loss? I know that the Scripture calls us to “give thanks in all things,” and that “my ways are not your ways.” I also know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, and that “there is an appointed hour for everything.” No one gets out of here alive.

But in between the sunshine and the rain, in the decades or moments before those appointed hours, there are questions. There are even doubts. Most of us don’t have the time, the capacity, or the will to dive deeply into scholarly debates about theodicy and the interplay between free will and grace. We collapse into bed after long, busy days. We think about work, food, sex, family, and the bills. We read when we can, pray when we’re able, and mouth easy answers not because we believe them, but precisely because they are easy. We take the questions that flummox philosophers and set them aside; at least until we’re confronted with the reality that life is far more complex than we would like to think.

He finds solace in a beautiful poem we linked to back in May. Most of my favorite posts about faith are about the questions, not the answers.