1 Kings 17:8-16, (17-24) and Psalm 146 •
1 Kings 17:17-24 and
Psalm 30 •
Galatians 1:11-24 •
day, not far from where you live, a parent sits at the bedside of a
Most of the time that is a lonely place, no
matter who else is around. It is lonely and slow. Hospital time is slow
time waiting at the bedside of someone you love. And that mother or
father has lots of time to examine what it is that brought their family
to this point where they are sitting at the bedside of their dying
child. Lots of time.
Lots of time to wonder why this beautiful
child is dying. No matter how much science and logic someone wants to
apply to the situation, it does not make sense. However, we as humans
have been trained to love our logic and so the parent constantly
wonders why. And usually (not always) the thoughts turn to God.
would God let this happen?
Why would God do this to my child? to
Did I not go to church enough?
Have I not done enough good?
my child being punished for something I have done or not done?
not a good enough parent?
Have I somehow failed and done this to my
Is God trying to teach me something?
Do I not have
Does God love me?
This is a horrendous place to
be in. No one on earth is prepared to hear the news that their child
might die, is going to die, or has died. And no matter now dire the
circumstances, every parent holds on to every shred of hope (real or
imagined) until the very end.
Now why is that? Why, even in the
face of having been told by a variety of medical professionals that
nothing can be done, would a parent still be able to generate hope that
something might change? There are lots and lots of reasons. The
primary reason is depth of love a parent has for a child. A parent
never wants to believe it will be true that their child will die. And
so, any treatment that is mentioned that might give even another day of
life is considered and often tried. A parent never gives up hope.
And a parent who has any sort of Abrahamic faith (Islam, Judaism,
Christianity) background also has some other stories floating around in
their faith-based DNA reminding them that it would not be against
precedent for God to intervene and heal their child. In this week's
lectionary readings we see two stories of God using someone to give life
back to someone who has died.
In 1 Kings we see Elijah sent to
live in a new place where he meets a widow. After Elijah shows up the
widow's food inexplicabably does not run out. And then, the woman's son
gets deathly sick. Elijah takes the boy, prays over him, and the child
And then in Luke we see a brief scene where
Jesus brings a guy (a widow's only son) back to life. The guy dies,
Jesus sees the grief of the woman, he has compassion on her, and then
brought the man back to life.
Paul's letter to the Galatians recounts a rather miraculous tale of
Paul being chosen and plucked back from his righteous persecution of
Christians. God's hand is somewhere in what seems an unlikely
They are all miraculous stories by varying degrees.
A child dies (or almost dies) and is brought back to
A gift that is all but taken away is given back.
Here is where it gets difficult though. What about the kids
that die....and don't come back? What about the families who find
themselves launched in to an uncharted sea of grief? How do we
reconcile these things? Does one have more faith than another? Does one
somehow deserve it?
There is no easy answer for
understanding the how and the why. In the story of Job or in the
writing of Ecclesiastes, good things happen and bad things happen, and
God goes on and on. Present. Aware. Emotional.
in the midst of hurt
it is hard to see You
to taste You.
Clothed in our own
rational thinking and raw feeling,
is hard to know
that You are God.
Be fully present
even as we wonder
at Your ways.
matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this
with you and hope you'll share with the world;
we simply ask that
you let people know where you found these words.
May Grace &
Peace be with you