Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When Answers Aren't Enough

For some reason, Mia's body always tends to fight illness with sky-high fevers. Last night she crawled into bed with us and midnight and spent the next several hours moaning and crying in pain from her upset stomach. Her fever shot right up to 103. She was throwing up by morning and her whole body aches. She officially has the flu, complete with 103.6 degree fever and all. I can always tell when she's sick: she doesn't talk and she stops moving. She's curled up in bed watching a Hannah Montana DVD with her Strawberry Shortcake pillow, Little Mermaid blanket, and all there Powerpuff Girls. All of the necessary comforts.

When Answers Aren't Enough by Matt Rogers is the author's response to the pain and loss after the Virginia Tech shootings of one year ago today. Rogers is a pastor at a church near the campus, and one of the students killed wash is parishioner. The book starts with Rogers' anger and frustration at the senseless killings and God's apparent neglect in the face of this tragedy. He asks a common question: where is God in suffering? To find the answer he interviews a Hokie survivor, as well as a family who lost six of their children in a tragic accident. He addresses death in a way I've never seen before. When attending the funeral of a friend as well as the VT victim, he can't find the joy within him that Christians are supposed to feel when a believer goes home to Heaven. Instead, he's angry, and with good reason. Death is not natural to this life. When God created the world, death was not a part of it; it was introduced with sin. So it is natural that we feel sad, angry, and hurt when death affects us. We should feel that way, because it means that we aren't meant for this world and are looking forward to the next one. Rogers' insights on this and other issues make the book a must read. It reads almost like a longform Psalm, starting with a crying out to God in pain, seeking answers, and then praising God for His holiness and trusting in his plan. It not only offers wisdom about death and suffering, but a view on how to keep going as well.

Say a prayer today for the members of the Virginia Tech community. Their wounds are still healing.