Off and on during the past two or three weeks, I have been very angry with God regarding the brokenness of this world...We didn't ask to be born, but we have inherited this mess, and due to our very human nature we are destined to perpetuate the brokenness...or are we? This excerpt from The Shack (by William P. Young) reminds me there is an alternative to just perpetuating the brokenness. He has redeemed me. He is redeeming me. He will redeem me.
Mackenzie is a father whose young daughter, Missy, was kidnapped and murdered. Mack has the following conversation with another character in a chapter titled "Here Come Da Judge." (God the Father is referred to as "Papa" and appears to Mack as a woman, so God is often referred to as "she." I know it is a little confusing if you haven't read the book.)
"No, I love Papa, whoever she is. She's amazing, but she's not anything like the God I've known." (Mackenzie speaking.)
"Maybe your understanding of God is wrong."
"Maybe. I just don't see how God loved Missy perfectly."
"So the judgment continues?" she said with a sadness in her voice.
That made Mack pause, but only for a moment. "What am I supposed to think? I just don't understand how God could love Missy and let her go through that horror. She was innocent. She didn't do anything to deserve that."
Mack continued on, "Did God use her to punish me for what I did to my father? That isn't fair. She didn't deserve this. Nan didn't deserve this." Tears streamed down his face. "I might have, but they didn't."
"Is that who your God is, Mackenzie? It is no wonder you are drowning in your sorrow. Papa isn't like that, Mackenzie. She's not punishing you, or Missy, or Nan. This was not his doing."
"But he didn't stop it."
"No, he didn't. He doesn't stop a lot of things that cause him pain. Your world is severely broken. You demanded your independence, and now you are angry with the one who loved you enough to give it to you. Nothing is as it should be, as Papa desires it to be, as it will be one day. Right now your world is lost in darkness and chaos, and horrible things happen to those that he is especially fond of."
"Then why doesn't he do something about it?"
"He already has…"
"You mean what Jesus did?"
"Haven't you seen the wounds on Papa too?"
"I didn't understand them. How could he…"
"For love. He chose the way of the cross where mercy triumphs over justice because of love. Would you instead prefer he'd chosen justice for everyone? Do you want justice, 'Dear Judge'?" and she smiled as she said it.
"No, I don't," he said as he lowered his head. "Not for me, and not for my children." She waited.
"But I still don't understand why Missy had to die."
"She didn't have to, Mackenzie. This was no plan of Papa's. Papa has never needed evil to accomplish his good purposes. It is you humans who have embraced evil, and Papa has responded with goodness. What happened to Missy was the work of evil and no one in your world is immune from it. "
"But it hurts so much. There must be a better way."
"There is. You just can't see it now. Return from your independence, Mackenzie. Give up being his judge and know Papa for who he is. Then you will be able to embrace his love in the midst of your pain, instead of pushing him away with your self-centered perception of how you think the universe should be. Papa has crawled inside of your world to be with you, to be with Missy."