One of my favorite movie scenes is from Forest Gump, when Lt. Dan rages from the crow’s nest of his shrimp boat in the middle of a hurricane, shaking his fist at the heavens. Feeling betrayed by God, the universe, and life comes naturally to us, I think. It certainly does for me.
A central tenet of Christianity is the acceptance of God’s supremacy, and that in the end “all things work according to the good.” When looking at hurricanes, genocides, and war, it is impossible for me to understand how these can be good. I can’t wrap my head around it, because it seems unjust. I grapple with these things on an intellectual level, but in the end I retreat into a leap of faith, admitting that a power as vast as God must be, there is no possible way I can understand the infinite permutations of destiny, the colorful threads connecting a universe larger than my puny mind can comprehend. When it’s personal, though, is when it becomes dangerous for me. My faith is not strong enough.
I recognize the futility of it. I understand there is no arguing with God, and that nothing good can possibly come of the attempt. And still I’m guilty of it. I look around at things, and I say to myself, “that’s not fair. Why?” It is ultimately a selfish emotion, at its root, even if it is couched in compassion. What I’m truly saying is “Why Me?” Which is absurd, human, and a bit pathetic.
I had a discussion recently with a Godly man, a much wiser one than I. I told him I was feeling rankled with God. ” Yes, I’ve made some big mistakes, made some dumb decisions, I said. I’m trying hard to rely on God, and I’m not seeing any improvements. In fact, things are getting worse.”
“I see,” he said, nodding his head. “So you’re angry with God because of things you did, and now you’re upset because He’s not fixing things as quickly as you like? Did I get that right.”
I had to sheepishly agree with him, and recognizing that made me feel a bit better. There are consequences. Perhaps it’s not God’s role to make those go away.
I’m working at focusing on the good, seeking out the light, and infusing my life with a greater sense of gratitude, for anger is a poison in our veins, a killing toxin. A life bereft of hope is tragic and lonely. I’m lowering my fist.