‘Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable?’

little girl holding daddy's hand


On Sunday morning, right at the end of the service, I was overcome with tearfilled anger towards God. During prayer another congregant was giving thanks for some of the elderly who have recently recovered from illness and surgery. It was the words “You are a God who heals” that got me. I do know He is, I have read the evidence of Christ’s time on earth and how all who called on him were restored by His hand. And He is the same God then as He is today, I believe he works through medicine and even beyond its paltry powers to perform the miraculous and heal the impossibly sick. Yet how is it that in my sister’s particular case He did not heal her child, that He didn’t save his young life? How is it fair that some are and some are not, especially when the not is a child of eight years old? I felt like a child myself crying out with all my heart, “it’s NOT fair!”

So I escaped the hurly-burly of the after church coffee crowd into the relative sanctuary of the depleted creche room. I expected to find a particular friend there, I intended to return her pen and probably thought this was my best excuse for fleeing. In fact there were three friends there who could see I was upset – they all know about his death. The first one came up to me, hugged me and said how sorry she was, the second kept quiet and put her head down to the task at hand but the third really helped me – when we were alone she asked me what had been the trigger. It was such a very direct question and it enabled me to pinpoint my struggle.

Last night I finished reading C.S. Lewis’s ‘A grief Observed’. This short book offers great insight to the processes of grief and the contortions of our minds having to assimilate or endure those processes. He says “When I  lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer’. It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’ Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask are like that.”

How apt to find this quote from the book posted on the Lewis twitter account this morning: “My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself.”

Bit by bit, perhaps, all my false notions of God are being destroyed. All my silly questions are returning empty, rewarded by their own content. I am the child who is having to learn what it is to trust explicitly when my understanding of the situation is limited. Now is the time when I most need to say, “Daddy I want to hold your hand” and the questions I should be asking are of myself, like: How well do I trust Him to lead when the path ahead is unknown to me?

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