The news trickled out over the past few days. Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into the French Alpson Tuesday afternoon. The cause of the tragedy that killed 150 people?..”The co-pilate deliberately crashed the plane” emphatically and definitively declared the French prosecutor, Brice Robin. And now, everyone wonders …”Why?” Why would he do such a horrible thing? Why would he commit a mass murder? Why, why why?
Over the next several weeks we will hear stories, theories, analysis and so called reasons. And we will try to make sense of the senseless. And even when the answers come and the puzzle seems to be pieced together, for the families, friends and loved ones of the victims who perished there will be no satisfactory, reasonable explanation. They will always live with the pain and suffer the grief of loss and unimaginable sorrow. Answers won’t make it any better or hurt an less.
We all can fall into the trap of trying to make somebody feel better who has gotten bad news or experienced some level of hurt, sorrow or disappointment. We don’t like to see people suffer or have to delve into the deep emotions of sadness, anger or fear. Like the friends of Job we defend God, blame others or try to explain why something may have happened. We may even claim that God has spoken to us about the future. Pastor Charlie Rizzo would jokingly say, “With friends like Job who needs boils.” We mean well and sometimes figuring out the why is beneficial…but not to the antheatizing of the pain or the denying of the emotion. Sometimes we need to travel into the grief and get through it, not around it. Gerry Sittser wrote the book “A Grace Disguised; How The Soul Grows Through Loss” after losing his wife, daughter and mother in a head on collision with a drunk driver. Among his powerful quotes he writes:
“The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.” ……………”I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am……”It is therefore not true that we become less through loss-unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left but an external self entirely under the control of circumstances. Loss can also make us more. In the darkness we can still find the light. In death we can also find life. It depends on the choices we make.”
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is a day of celebration…sort of. Not really. The people waving palm branches had no idea what was to come. They had a very different idea than Jesus did. In less than a week’s time Jesus would suffer the brutal death of crucifixion. The Bible tells us, in a way, the “why”: For the atonement of sin Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. But that reason…that explanation…the answer to “Why did Jesus have to die…and why did He have to suffer so much?” does not make it any easier. I don’t think Mary…or John…or Peter…or any of the disciples, loved ones or followers of Jesus felt any better or hurt any less because they were told that He died for their sins. It still does not make sense to me. It still brings me pain to see Jesus on the cross. Its not even something I can begin to understand or wrap my head around. Telling me that Jesus had to die for me to go to heaven really does not help make any more sense of His sacrifice. Yes I understand (intellectually) He was the lamb who was led to the slaughter for my sin. Yes I understand (intellectually) that He took on Himself the sin of the world. And yes I understand (intellectually) what the Bible says about life being in the blood. But my heart screams that there must have been another way.
I have become comfortable in not knowing. I have become comfortable with the mystery of suffering. The more I know the less I really know. And that is o.k. Because I believe in a resurrection. I believe in life after death. And I can’t explain that either. But I don’t think I have to…It is called faith. And in my faith in Christ I experience light, life and resurrection. Even when life does not make sense.
May all those who suffered the pain of intense loss at the hands of a co-pilots deliberate act also, in time, experience the light of Christ’s deliberate act of love along with the hope of resurrection.
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?