I don’t want to

A couple weeks ago I came to this space to write out my anger toward God.

Even though I closed comments on that post, many of you (many) reached out to me to tell me that either you could relate, to tell me your story, or to give me encouragement and prayers.

I want to thank you.

I have been wrestling with God since that post.

Today (Sunday) I sat in church for the first time since spring {we may take the summer off…I know, I KNOW} and guess what the sermon was about?  Yup. Bad stuff happening in the world.

I wish I could tell you that after two weeks of having my prayers sound like arguments, I could tell you that today’s sermon gave me the Ah Ha moment I so badly wanted and lifted my spirit.  But instead, I sat there feeling the old anger burn inside of me.  The tears were hot in my eyes and my heart beat hard against my chest.  For a second, I actually got tunnel vision staring at the visiting pastor that ended in a fight or flight response.

I so badly wanted to run out of that sanctuary, away from the pew I shared with Cortney, and out into the chilly fall air. I wanted to sit in the parking lot and cry.

This wouldn’t have been the first time I ran from this message.

Around Christmas of 2007, Cort and I were at a holiday family retreat with the entire side of his family. I was not yet pregnant with Eddie, but I had had one miscarriage and would have a second that spring.

Over 80 of us all in one building for a cozy weekend. It was glorious.

Cortney has two cousins who are preachers.  They take turns each year preaching the Saturday night “service” to all of us in the Great Room of the Lodge that we rent.  It is cozy and lovely.

That year, the more conservative of the two preacher-cousins gave us our message. Since we were gathering closer to New Year’s than Christmas that year, he chose to center his message on the idea of starting over.  A large part of his message was about how the pain in our lives is caused by sin.

I couldn’t take it.  The miscarriage was too fresh and I lost my mind. I ran from the room, crumpled on the bathroom floor of our room, and sobbed. I refused to believe that I miscarried because I somehow wasn’t good enough.  That Cort or I sinned and God was punishing us with a miscarriage. I seemed so…wrong. And not the loving God I had known my whole life.

When Cortney came to comfort me, he said everyone assumed I was crying because of the absence of his dad.  And then I started crying harder. Did we lose Steve because we sinned?  Did Steve have to get cancer because of something he didn’t do “correctly”?  That went against everything I believe in my heart.

I was so angry, and instead of going and talking to anyone about it, I just ran away.

But today in church I didn’t run. Instead, I fumbled clumsily through my purse hoping I had a pen. I did.  And I began to scribble furiously over my bulletin, wishing I had my Bible with me since I figure writing all over the pew Bible and then stealing it is frowned upon.

Over and over the pastor said, “Pain comes from sin,” but he never said whose sin.

I have always known that the shitty things in this world are because there is sin in the world.  This world we have? Is not what God originally intended. He gave us free will and with that came the invention of Bad Choices. Sin is a CHOICE, says the pastor man.

The problem is someone else’s Bad Choices end up affecting other people…generations of millions of people.

Because of Bad Choices there are things like cancer and infertility and diabetes and AIDS.  We have birth defects and brain defects and social defects.  We have hunger and rape and genocide and chemical weapons.

The whole message today was based on Jeremiah. A quick recap for those who are not familiar with my man Jeremiah. He got a crap job.  Even our preacher said no one wants a “Jeremiah Assignment”. It means you have a really, REALLY difficult time ahead of you.  You have to “destroy” and “tear down” in order to make new…in order to bring people to God.

So Jeremiah didn’t want this assignment because who would, honestly?  Being sent into a people who are going to hate your guts and you will have to bring down destruction on them in order to save the rest?  Total short straw, yo.

But God tells him this right before he sends him off to the Worst Assignment Ever: “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:19)

Jeremiah is sent to a bunch of sinners. To a bunch of Bad Choice Makers.

But here is the thing I want to know…did I lose two pregnancies because of my sins or because of those sins that happened way back in Jeremiah’s day?

God had a Purpose. Send Jeremiah to spread his word, destroy the bad, make new again.  So lots and lots of people suffered for the Good of the Whole.

But what about those of us who are already “with God”?  If pain comes from sin, and God has a purpose in pain…

I’m just going to say it here because I’ve said it straight to God: “WHAT THE HELL?”

I’m going to go all selfish here (and maybe that’s my sin?) there are plenty of people who are sinners who don’t care that they are sinners and they have no intention of following love or anything and they have kids that they beat and kill and rape.  Are my friends and family and I suffering for their sins too? Is that it? Do we lose people or get sick or suffer because of the sins of others?

Am I supposed to be an example of what Godly Suffering looks like? Because like Jeremiah and Job and  Moses and anyone else God has ever asked, “I DON’T  WANT TO.”

Also? It’s not fair.

I am not comparing myself to those prophets and disciples. I’m not. In fact, I am way WAY less than they are. Because right now? If you gave me the choice between saving myself from hell and giving a friend her baby back? Or bring my husband his dad back? I would give them those people and go right to hell for it.

So yea, God and I, we have been talking.  I’ve repeatedly begged him to show me something that made sense.

I still thank him for all the many MANY blessings in my life because…well, my life is a charmed one.  But he and I, we sit at the table over coffee and we have deep, hard discussions. I ask him big questions. I grill him on things my soul hurts over.

And I am still too chicken to let you comment here. So there’s that.