Wrestling with God in the dock

God, I admit I want to put You on trial.

I want to hold You accountable for all evil, injustice, and pain.

I guess it’s because I’ve bought into the lie that You aren’t actually Good, and if someone doesn’t hold You accountable – even some insignificant creature You made – then who will?

I would have been in that crowd before Pilate, seeing Christ after He was beaten and bloodied, and I would have joined the cry: “Crucify Him!”

I’ve bought the lie that You are responsible for evil.

It’s an enticing lie because it’s wrapped up in truth: You made all that exists, and if You’re omnipotent, that means You made Satan already knowing what he would do, and You made humanity knowing how we would Fall.

Thus, I think You’re culpable.

But I don’t really know that – it’s what I want to believe, because You are all powerful and You didn’t and don’t stop my pain.

And when you’re six years old and believe You are real and You can do anything, but day after day and night after night the pain never changes – you begin to believe You aren’t really all that good, and if You are indeed loving, for some reason You don’t love me.

How does something so etched in my core get healed? Something woven into the fabric of how I learned to cope with life and comprehend the world?

How does that perception change?

Because that’s not the whole truth, is it?

You didn’t create evil. Not technically.

Maybe in some sense You are culpable for its existence, but if You are, You’ve taken ownership of that.

You created life with the ability to reject You. And, yes, You knew Satan would reject You before You made him (or at least You knew it as a possibility – who am I to know whether this reality is the only one there is; or know the other mysteries of time, dimensionality, universes and parallel universes, and only You know what else is entailed throughout Your creation?).

Yet somehow…somehow, even if You knew who would reject You, it doesn’t mean they were thus created to reject You. It doesn’t mean they had no choice not to.

And I don’t know for sure what evil is, exactly.

I have a hunch that, if You really are the embodiment of all that is Good, evil has to just be the absence of You.

So evil isn’t really a “thing,” so much, as it is just the absence of You, isn’t it?

Which means it couldn’t have been created, but instead became reality when You were first rejected.

And if I look at it like that…if evil is the result of rejection of You…then every bit of evil is to You a spear thrust in Your side: evil is personal to You.

Evil is to You as Judas’ kiss – betrayal wrapped up in an act that is supposed to convey love.

Our choice is supposed to represent love. But like Judas, every time we reject You it’s that kiss in the garden as we hand You over to be arrested.

So evil is Your thorn in Your side.

And it wasn’t enough for You to suffer it for what it is from Your end – the existential nature of it being the gash in Your body that it is.

No, You chose to suffer it from our end, too.

You became man and took the wrath of evil we had set loose on ourselves on Yourself as us.

You doubly suffer: from the nature of what evil is as an assault on Your divinity to the effects evil has on those who manifest it.

I must confess, God, this helps me, and I thank You for revealing it.

I wish it changed everything – that it made the terror-filled nights OK, that it makes all the horrible and unspeakable acts that happen everyday to so many people understandable.

But it doesn’t. And I know You know it doesn’t.

And I know I will never fully understand.

Help me to learn and to trust that You are Good and You do really love me. I mean truly in my heart and innermost being, not just my head.

Because then I will be able to rest in You no matter the circumstance.

Then the Epistles will make sense: how the saints counted it blessing to suffer hardship and persecution for Your sake.

To have a joy that transcends transitory events.

I have to believe, I have to trust, that this all works out in the end.

Because You knew that evil would happen, the price it would cost, not only to You but to all of us.

And still – still – You went through with creation and called it good.

You see in the end that the price is worth it. That it’s not even close; that nothing compares to the glories that will come once evil has been destroyed forever.

I yearn for a glimpse of that future, God. Because it’s so hard for me to believe when the pain is all it feels like I know.

That isn’t fair because I know goodness, too, but, God, more often than not it seems the evil outweighs it.

Help me to trust You.

God…please. Give me – give us all – the eyes we need to see.

All that we need.

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