Tuesday, December 10, 2002


A couple of opening thoughts...

There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today.
—Bishop Handley Moule

God creates everything out of nothing and everything which God is to use he first reduces to nothing.
—Soren Kierkegaarde

In his Where Is God When It Hurts, Philip Yancey hypothesizes that of those women and men who are driven toward God in their suffering rather than away from Him are those who can stop asking the neverending question of "why," and take up the question, "to what end?"

I think that's the question I've tried to ask. I'm not really interested in the "why" of my accident — my body was broken because a stranger (though lawyers will be contesting this in the months ahead) lost control of his vehicle in the rain. I don't credit God with the accident —I'm not of the school that says a capricious deity is anxious to squish us to drive home points of personal morality (as if I've been doing anything especially naughty, I should only be having so much fun), so I throw that out altogether. I do, however, credit him with safeguarding my broken bones and battered organs. I can walk. I have feeling in all extremities. I will heal, and am doing so even now. I am grateful. And I will be grateful for what God will do in me in spite of, and sometimes because of these circumstances.

His broken Body hung asphyxiating. So did mine. Upside down, even. And so again I turn to a sacramental theology and the Lord's Table for sustenance. At Eucharist, I take His broken Body into my own, and am thereby healed. I'm not interested in blame and recriminations, for the Lord of the Universe has given Himself as sustenance. And it is enough; indeed it must be.

I'm chosing to believe that I'm loved, and that purpose can come from pain and loneliness. It doesn't have to; those things can lead to the far deeper pain of despair. My suffering will not be the center of my world. Instead I look to the example of the saints who offer up their own brokenness to help others, a way of offering oneself as a Eucharistic sacrifice: my own body as a gift of thankgiving, to God, for others. I don't know quite how to do that from my little cell here, but I hope to work that out later.