Monday, April 23, 2012

God Cares

Talwart, Iowa.
Post-Plutonian Population: 612.
Plutonian -- Tony -- came through here not long after he went berserk. Lord knows why...
....But I rather have my doubts that God cares.
- Irredeemable #17
by Mark Waid and Peter Krause

Here we go again. Another Daily Quote that questions God. Another post bringing up theodicy and the problem of suffering. This certainly seems to be one of the main themes of Wednesday Theology.

Yes it is. I feel it is one of the main themes of theology in pop culture overall. Why? Because where else can you discuss this topic? Church? Really? Try going to church and mentioning that it feels like God just doesn't care about you. Will you get an honest discussion about your concerns or merely the standard church cliches that sound good to people doing just fine but amount to nothing for people truly facing doubt?

You can't question God in church. Christians are terrified of doubt. We'll have none of that. Believe in God and his plan for some greater good no matter what crappy circumstances you may be going through. Nope, we can't handle doubt.

So if you want to question if God really cares, you'll have to go somewhere else. Might I suggest graphic literature? The funny thing is, questioning if God cares is completely biblical. The Psalms, especially, are full of people asking, "Are you there God? And if you are, why the crap aren't you doing anything?" The writers of the Old Testament were not afraid to lament to God that despite how much they cried out to the Lord, they received no answer. All these translations are from the NIV:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? - Psalm 22:1
I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" - Psalm 42:9
You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? - Psalm 43:2
O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? - Psalm 74:1
My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? - Psalm 6:3
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? - Psalm 13:1
How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. - Psalm 35:17
We are given no sings from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. - Psalm 74:9
How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? - Psalm 79:5
How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? - Psalm 80:4
How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? - Psalm 89:46
How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? - Psalm 119:84
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? - Habakkuk 1:2

Wow. If you've ever doubted if God cares, you are in some seriously good company. But what if this was just an Old Testament kind of thing? The New Testament doesn't feel like it questions God as much, but instead focuses on how Christians should behave and be faithful to God. Does anyone significant in the New Testament question if God cares?
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). - Matthew 27:46

I'd say that's a big "Yes." As he's dying on the cross in unimaginable pain and anguish, Jesus himself invokes Psalm 22. If we're honest, even the most faithful of us experience periods of our lives where it seems like God just doesn't care. If we are honest.

But when was the last time you felt comfortable being honest in church?

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