Once again, I found myself wishing for a different life, an alternative story.
In my last post (almost two weeks ago? sorry!) I talked about the idea that we all want to be a part of a different "story" than the one we're living. Why? Well, because a lot of the time, our stories suck. They are stories of pain - of betrayal, of confusion, loss, injustice, inadequacy and fear. Unlike the stories we were raised on, the stories we live out go like this: evil doesn't always get defeated, the good guys often lose, and happily-ever-after is usually settling-for-right-now. That's why we're attracted to bigger stories that give our own lives a more noble context. For example:
- Your suffering happens because the GOVERNMENT is corrupt/inept/totalitarian; life would be better for you if the powers-to-be were replaced by the powers-that-want-to-be
That's the meta-narrative, the contextual story that we're being told during this election season. It seeks to find answers for all of the injustices, all of the foibles of this life by labeling who is at fault and who is the victim. We like this kind of story, because even though it doesn't solve our immediate problems, it gives us categories and limits by which we can understand what has happened to us and what will happen to us. EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THAT LIFE REALLY CAN'T BE THAT SIMPLY EXPLAINED.
As a Christian, though, I'm supposed to believe in another meta-narrative, a bigger story that gives my life (and my suffering) a context. Well...I'm supposed to believe in a particular Christian meta-narrative that I honestly find incredibly dark and un-biblical. You can read more about it here. To sum it up (probably unfairly):
- Your suffering happens because GOD has preordained all things according to His own mysterious will; your suffering brings GOD glory, because he has determined it and brought it about for his own purposes.
YUCK. If I had to accept that "Big Picture", I probably wouldn't be a Christian. The Holocaust? Chernobyl? 9/11? Gareth's birth defect? My husband's incarceration? Do I really EVER want to say that God planned it all out that way, the suffering and the violence, the grief and ripping pain, because it glorifies Him? No. I never want to say that. And I never will. I won't preach that. I won't teach that. I don't believe that. That's not my bigger picture, my alternative story.
Because I can't accept that, though, part of my struggle and my faith journey is to figure out the bigger picture, the alternative story that I DO Believe. And it goes something like this:
- Your suffering happens because SIN has broken the world. And because we are a human community that affects and interacts and is interdependent upon each other, we suffer the consequences of other people's choices even though we may be innocent of those choices. But GOD is working to heal the brokenness of all things, of all people, and that healing begins though the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So there is suffering now - BUT IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO. So there is death now - BUT IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO. So there is injustice now - BUT IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO. So there is brokenness now - BUT IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO. The Kingdom of God is coming.
That's my alternative - my way of giving context to my life. Yes, there is suffering, there is disappointment, there is deep grief. But I survive because I know - IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO. God is moving - even though God seems to be doing it silently, invisibly, slowly.
IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE SO.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. HAVE MERCY.