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Apr 29, 2007

I received this email a few weeks ago, and for some reason, even though it is one sent in good faith, in hopes of comfort, it bothers me. It appears here exactly the way it appeared in the email. Why the sender chose to center the text, I don't know. Perhaps he chose this style to make it more poetic. I don't expect you to read it all, as the fourth paragraph pretty much sets the tone. He says he is responding to my letter, but he actually is responding to a message I left on the Legacy guest book site for my son. I do this often, just another way to let him know much I love him. And take note that God's concern is for 'humans' and not every living thing on earth. I don't mean to disrespect this man, I guess I just need to discuss it.


I read your letter regarding Travis in the Guest book in Legacy. I find these letters heart wrenching. I trust that you will not feel this is an intrusion but that you’ll recognize that I am impelled to respond to your letter.

I realize that you’ve probably received many e- mails. I’m hoping to offer a little hope for you and your family.

So many wonder why there is so much suffering & death? And the big question, why doesn’t God do something about it?

God's original purpose was for His children - humans - to live forever on the earth, as shown in Genesis chapter 2, Psalms 37:11, 29 & 34. NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE IS THERE INDICATED A CHANGE FROM GOD’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE. As a matter of fact God’s original purpose is emphasized repeatedly throughout the scriptures.

Our creator has every intention of making the earth a paradise with happiness and joy…no sickness, death, war or weapons of war anymore. Please take the time to read ISA 34:5-7 and Psalm 46:8,9. The Bible is describing the earth…not heaven. This is why Jesus, as the promised messiah and future king, could so strongly endorse, emphasis and repeat the point taken from the above scriptures in Psalms when in Mt 5:5 he stated that the mild tempered (meek, teachable), shall INHERIT THE EARTH. It’s simply a matter of when and the Bible is very specific on that also.

But…what happens to us when we die? Where will the people come from to “inherit the earth”?
The wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, gave us scriptural hope for the dead. In the book of Ecclesiastes at 9:5,10 Solomon described death as SLEEPING. When we die we are unaware of any event taking place, we are unconscious. One of my favorite scriptures regarding this is found at Mark 5:39 wherein Jesus was about to resurrect a little girl that had died and he described her death as sleeping. Notice that the people laughed at Jesus’ description of death but also notice how mom and dad felt after the resurrection (vs 42).

This is how you can feel when this occurs on a paradise earth that our creator promised us. This promise at the Garden of Eden was emphasized at Isa. 55:11 when God said “so my word that goes forth from my mouth will not return to me without results”. What God says he is going to do…he is going to do.

Imagine…seeing our loved ones again, united families in peace….only this time sharing an earth not ridden by crime, sickness, and war.

God is not to blame…God has every intent of healing the problems caused by men.
I hope these thoughts have been as comforting to you as they have been to me.

Sincerely

There is something condescending about it, as if the writer assumes I have never read the bible, which I have, or that I do not understand it. As anyone knows who has lost a child, God, or whatever you call him, becomes a target for your anger. You cannot understand why he chose your child. My thoughts at the time, were, it should have been me. I still think that. All the words in the Bible or any other book will not change that.

I have faith that I will see my son again, but it is not necessarily because of anything in the bible. It is because I know his spirit lives in some form or another. What that is exactly, I won't know until I die. And no one else will either. Faith takes many forms, and does not have to be dictated by any one book. Every so often a new, more improved version of the bible comes out, and very soon I think we will see an "Idiot's Guide to the Bible" coming out and selling like wildfire. I have no doubt there is "Cliffnotes" for the bible out there somewhere. The bible most people read is the King James Version, and when quoted, the quotes are used mostly to illustrate the meaning the person quoting wants to convey. Hence those words are subject to....interpretation.

The sender of this email, which I am sure had the best of intentions, meant to comfort me, but they seemed to make me feel cheated in some way. It doesn't take away the pain. For me, it made it worse.
The way we conduct funerals in this country is totally bizarre. We take our dead to a funeral home, instead of bringing them home. The body is dressed and painted to look as if they were "only sleeping, 'he looks so natural doesn't he?' We let someone else prepare the body of our beloved, instead of doing it ourselves, out of love and respect. Very few have a family cemetery, located nearby, where the mourner can look out the window and see the grave. The funeral itself is conducted in a muted style. Even the tears are kept as silent as possible, and we are uncomfortable at the uncontrollable grief of a family member. Other cultures embrace extreme displays of grief, and to me, that seems much more natural.

Reading a few passages of the Bible may seem to be a sure-fire way to heal those wounds, but for me they have the effect of trying to conceal your pain with a fine veneer of false comfort, clinging to you like dust, but so easily brushed away.

As for Psalms, this is my favorite:

Psalm 121
1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

As for the word "Lord", I'll go with the original, "I am that I am".

5 comments:

singleton said...

No words big enough. God bless you.

Lin said...

That was a beautiful bit of writing straight from the heart on your part there. Given my own experiences with life and the world beyond, yeah, I can get my back up on occasion when someone gets preachy like I am an idiot but, then again, I have to force myself to remember that they are trying to do us a very caring favor. A neighboring tribal elder left me with a very simple truth: "Always keep an open mind, that's all." I think that one-liner speaks in thundering ways and I think you've got the knack of that all right.
May God bring your son back home safely to you SOON.

just me said...

Singleton, lin, thanks for dropping by. I do appreciate your comments, and I do try to keep an open mind. Sometimes I feel it is too open, and my brain will fall out.

Spadoman said...

You know my story. When we lost Maggie, I was mad at God. Who wouldn't be after losing a daughter? And I remember years later when I had an understanding that explained things to me somewhat to my satisfaction. I looked at it this way. If God can't forgive me for getting pissed at him under these circumstances, then he ain't God.

By the way, I figured God can take a joke as well or he ain't God.

I applaud you. I haven't read the bible. Those that tell me scriptures and explain them to me and try to tell me what someone meant when he said something 2000 years ago, that was translated from an ancient language, are wasting my time.

My heart tells me what to do and listen to. I don't listen to bible verse because a man tries to tell me what it means and every religion seems to have a different reason behind every verse. If I listen to a Baptist, I get one thing. If I listen to a Lutheran, I get another. I'll trust my heart and my heart tells me they will all be there waiting on the other side. Yours, mine, and all the rest.

Peace to you in any event my friend.

Shrink wrapped scream said...

Patronising SOB, 'ain't he? Think your reponse is elequent enough, tho'. Why do God nuts always have to wear their faith as a pious badge of honour? I far far more respect for those who quietly choose to live and believe in their faith without ramming it down someone's throat.

ps. My beautiful, gracious and adorable sister is a practising preacher. She has the wisdom to know, if I need advice, I'll come find her for it - not the other way around!