Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"I'd like you to meet..."

"My mom got run over by a train." Josh looked sideways at me, watching for my reaction.

I didn't disappoint. "Seriously?!?"

"Yeah, when she was like 18 or so. She was walking across a railroad bridge one day, when, just like the movies, she got her foot caught when a train was coming. Of course, just like a girl, she didn't think about sliding her foot out of the shoe." He reflected a minute. "Not that it would have really mattered - there's was no way she could have outrun the train, and jumping off the edge would have killed her."

"I'd have tried hanging off the edge." Easy, of course, to say when it's not happening to you. I added as something of an allowance, "Dunno if I would have been able to hold on the entire time the train was passing, though."

"Well, yeah," Josh conceded. "What she did, though, after trying frantically to pull her foot out, was lay down. The whole train went right over her - didn't leave a scratch. I've still got a newspaper clipping somewhere. I'll bring it in sometime and show you." He laughed. "My mom's just standing there with a silly look on her face. She got really lucky that it was a livestock carrier, and not a passenger or cargo train. If it had been, she'd be dead. They have hardly any clearance to speak of."

I agreed, and went on cleaning up the work table. Josh sat on/leaned up against a trash box.

"Here's what I don't get, though," he said. "My mom is not a good person - nowhere near it. Yet she lives through something like that, but children all over the world, who haven't done anything wrong at all, get leukemia and cancer and all that [noun deleted]. It seems, almost, like God doesn't care."

Ahh. Ouch. My heart fell at least a mile. "No no no! It's not like that!" my mind cried - but you can't argue against someone else's feelings like that. Rationale doesn't do a bit of good.

"'Course, I don't think He has anything to do with it." Josh's way of letting God off the hook and explaining the problem of evil at the same time, which is really just an echo of my employer Louis' opinion.


Me, lamely: "Well.... here's one thing that helps to think about - this world, everything that goes on, isn't permanent. It's only a test run, so to speak. Those kids that suffer - it won't last forever. It's only preparing them for an eternity of happiness."

He acknowledged that, but seemed largely unsatisfied. The warehouse door opened, Shane walked in, and the conversation quickly went on to other things.

I turned back to the table. Why this problem with answering pain? I KNOW the answers. I KNOW why it's there. I KNOW what's to ultimately come of it. And I can see God's love through it all.

Here's why. I've met the Guy (if you'll forgive me using such a human term). And they can never understand Him until they have, too. Until they have felt His love, and known the sincerity and passion of it. God willing, and with His help, I'll never be able to stop until the two are introduced.

I'm a poor imitation, but Lord, help me do the best I can't. It's poor grammar - but it sums it up.

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