In a sermon, a congregation was encouraged to have a faith fixed like the astronomical phenomena described in Matthew 2 commonly referred to as the Christmas star.
As a counterexample, the illustration was provided of a pastor that, upon hearing of the unexpected tragic death of family members questioned, why and where was God.
However, apart from an admonition not to let one’s faith waiver like that of this grief-stricken minister, those listening in the congregation weren’t provided with much homiletical resolution otherwise as the sermon was hastily brought to a conclusion.
Did this pastor in the illustration renounce his belief in God altogether, as that would have been wrong.
Or, was he upset with God for a season yet still retaining his underlying faith and love of God?
After all, who among us has not been profoundly upset with a family member while still continuing to love them deeply?
Is God so wrapped up in Himself that He does not realize this?
On what grounds does a minister require an expectation that the Bible does not seem to impose?
For example, Job did not curse God.
However, at one point he did verbalize his frustrations with the divinely allowed unfolding of events that this suffering servant did not comprehend.
There are Psalms of lamentation that seem to indicate that David experienced a similar frame of mind where, despite being profoundly troubled, he still retained his deep faith.
In the Book of Ecclesiastes, his son Solomon would counsel that there is a time for mourning.
And one of the most profound Biblical references of all is also the shortest.
The passage succinctly conveys “Jesus wept.”
So if God’s own Son did not make it through life without the intense emotional disturbance that is often required to bring a man to public tears, is it really proper to demand an emotional response bordering on a cognitive dissonance more concerned with how a response will be perceived rather than with what the traumatized person is actually experiencing?
By Frederick Meekins