Saturday, January 23, 2010

Questioning Grace?

Good morning God,
Do I ask you too many questions? Are there some no-go areas that you would rather I didn't probe? I ask because my questioning often seems to disturb people in the Church to the extent that it can make me wonder whether I have  perhaps missed my calling after all.
Take the one question that I just can't seem to stop asking - 'Where are you God in this?'
From earthquakes to acts of appalling violence - the apparent absence of your providential grace begs answers to questions of mercy, forgiveness, love and hope - the very pillars of faith itself.

Where are you in the lives of the two boys imprisoned indefinately at her majesty's leisure for having tortured and abused two other boys of a similar age when they were only 10 and 11?
Where were you before that abuse took place - when the desire to inflict pain and suffering grew so strongly in them? Where were you when they committed this horrific act of violence, and where were you when they sat - seemingly unrepentant through their trial?
And of course - where are you now - in the lives of the victims and in their future?

What difference would it have made to any of the boys involved to have known you, If they had been suffered to come to Christ, to know a different way and have a different answer to their anger, violence and pain?

I have to believe that knowledge of you would have prevented this attack ever taking place..

Which puts the onus back on me - and on the Church
We invest thousands into safeguarding the Children who want to come to Church, doing police checks on church members, making sure of sufficient adult cover etc etc  - but how much do we spend on safeguarding the children we have never invited to Church from physical, sexual and moral abuse?
I know its not supposed to be an either-or  but at the moment it is definitely not a both-and.

'Where are you God in the use of our buildings, our money, our time and our energy?'

But these are the questions that disturb people the most...
Is it wrong to ask them God?

I need this questioning grace, the grace that will not let me close my eyes to what a possible knowledge of you could do. The grace that begs the question of you and prompts me to listen harder still for the answer. The grace that challenges me to read Scripture not as a personal devotional but as a Kingdom manifesto which pleads for the rights of the widow and orphan, the lost and the outcast. God grant me the questioning grace which refuses to allow me to cushion my faith with the platitudes and prayers of Sunday serenity. And above all this, grant me the courage to voice the questions before the answers are known, so that I can hear you speak through the mouths of babes and infants - even whilst they are busy bludgeoning one another with bricks.

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