There’s a song from the Broadway musical, Miss Saigon, called Why, God?. It is a powerful song. Recently a friend was asking me that very question. It’s a hard one to answer.
I don’t have the answers and I won’t pretend to. I’m not a theologian. I’m just an ordinary woman trying to be a wife, mother and writer. Most of the time I just don’t know the answers either. But here are a few of my thoughts.
I was watching the movie Amazing Grace the other night. (Fabulous by the way.) Afterward, my eight year old daughter said, “Is there any slavery anymore?” Oh, I hate those questions! I have to be honest with her even though I wanted to say, “No, baby, there’s no more slavery.” I told her not the same type of slavery. But there are women and children in slavery. “Are they being hurt?” Yes. My daughter was mad. MAD! She said, “I want to go to heaven right now and tell God to stop it.” She wanted to storm the gates of heaven, march right into the throne room of God and get his attention. I love that! It led to a wonderful discussion about prayer.
But I was left with lingering thoughts and doubts in my own head and heart. Does God not see the suffering? Just as my friend was wrestling with some atrocities, I’ve struggled with similar questions all week. But what I have come to is: yes, he does see. And he uses people like William Wilbur-whatever-his-name-is (from Amazing Grace) to make a difference.
Most of us have such blessed lives. Really! We do! We’re so spoiled here in America. But God gives us the privilege of seeing something really unpleasant, places where real people are hurting and need help. Painful things. Things that pain him even more than us! And He asks people like me, like my friend, like you to make a difference.
Because it’s a choice. It’s a choice for us to act or not act. It’s a choice for those hurting the innocent to cause pain or give grace. God gives us that free will.
My sister is making a documentary (she’s a film maker) of an experience I had with my kids where we rescued a cat on the highway and then nursed the premature baby she delivered. The real message of that experience is that there were hundreds of others on the highway that day. They zipped right past that little wounded animal. They were busy. They were in a hurry. They had other things to do. But when that little cat looked up and right at me, I had to act. I’m nothing special. I don’t have a degree in animal husbandry. I don’t know anything about cats. In fact, I’m allergic! But I learned a lot during that long sleepless month when I had to feed a premature kitten every hour to keep it alive.
Oh, how much easier it would be if God just fixed everything! If little animals didn’t end up as roadkill. If women and children weren’t bought and used. If there were no suffereing. I wish he would step in! But he doesn’t. He wants us to make a choice. The right choice. And do something about it.
I was listening to Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin McGraw, this week. She has a book out. She talked about how her sister was driving in a car and some horrible person dropped a bottle of sulphuric acid off a bridge which went right through her windshield, shattering her with glass and acid, burning her skin over her face and most of her body. Why? Robin wanted to know. But her sister never asked that question. Because she said if she did then it was like asking why wasn’t someone else besides me burned like this. And she wouldn’t do that.
I think it is okay to ask why. I don’t think that’s a sin at all. God wants to hear those questions. Because frankly he just wants us talking to him and then hopefully listening to him, then maybe we’ll act, even if it’s just sitting with a friend in a hospital room, holding their hand.
What is God showing you that needs to be fixed? Are you like me, saying I’m busy? I’ve gotta … then list a dozen things on my ‘to do’ list? Or are you willing to storm the throne room of God and ask him, “What can I do to make this situation better?”