A Vulnerable God

rsz_godcries1Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases.  – Isaiah 53:4

Last week I officiated at the funeral of a beautiful, talented and kind 60-year-old woman named Kris who died in a car accident. You could almost feel the struggle and the questions in the sanctuary. Why did this happen? Why did God let it happen? Where is God?

I wished that I could give the gathered community a coherent reason for Kris’ death, something to help them make sense of the tragedy. But that’s just what it was – a senseless tragedy. In a world in which we’re given the freedom to love and laugh and cray and care and create and dance and sing, we are also given the freedom to make mistakes, including mistakes on the road. And sometimes those mistakes have natural and tragic consequences.

So, where is God in all of that?

God is with Kris, just as God has always been. We cling to the hope that nothing, neither death nor life nor anything in all of creation will be able to separate us from the life and love of God in Christ Jesus. And God is with those who grieve, weeping with them, aching with them, walking with them through grief. They may struggle to believe that, or even believe in God’s existence right now, but that’s okay. When we don’t have the strength to go on or even believe, God carries us until we find both our feet and our faith again.

What I find stunning in all of this is God’s vulnerability. In giving us the freedom to love, God has also opened the door to tragedy, and tragedy breaks God’s heart. God does not run from us in our grief. Instead, God runs to us and weeps with us. God feels our pain. The cross proclaims that God bears our pain. It’s stunning the price God is willing to pay for the possibility of love.

I can’t get my head wrapped around the depth of tragedy in this world, but I pray that we might have enough faith to trust in the depths of God’s love for us, even in the midst of tragedy. Even if you don’t have the strength to go on or even believe today, trust that God will carry you until you find both your feet and your faith again.

Check out this amazing quote from C.S. Lewis on the connection between freedom, love and evil. Click here.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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  • Ken Walter

    Remembering how deeply the reading of “Footprints in the sand” touched me at such a time as this.