It is a little child with tears in its eyes looking up at Daddy and weeping, “Why?” This is not merely the philosophers’ “why?” Not only does it add the emotion of tears but also it is asked in the context of relationship. It is a question put to the Father, not a question asked in a vacuum.
The hurt child needs not so much explanations as reassurances. And that is what we get: the reassurance of the Father in the person of Jesus, “he who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).
The answer is not just a word but the Word; not an idea but a person. Clues are abstract, persons are concrete. Clues are signs; they signify something beyond themselves, something real. Our solution cannot be a mere idea, however true, profound, or useful, because that would be only another sign, another finger, another clue—like fingers pointing to other fingers, like having faith in faith, or hope in hope, or being in love with love. A hall of mirrors.
Besides being here, he is now. Besides being concretely real in our world, he, our answer, is also in our story, our history. Our story is also his-story. The answer is not a timeless truth but a once-for-all catastrophic event, as real as the stories in today’s newspapers.
It is, of course, the most familiar, the most often-told story in the world. Yet it is also the strangest, and it has never lost its strangeness, its awe, and will not even in eternity, where angels tremble to gaze at things we yawn at. And however strange, it is the only key that fits the lock of our tortured lives and needs. We needed a surgeon, and he came and reached into our wounds with bloody hands. He didn’t give us a placebo or a pill or good advice. He gave us himself.
In coming into our world he came also into our suffering. He sits beside us in the stalled car in the snowbank.He came. He entered space and time and suffering. He came, like a lover. Love seeks above all intimacy, presence, togetherness. Not happiness. “Better unhappy with her than happy without her”—that is the word of a lover. He came. That is the salient fact, the towering truth, that alone keeps us from putting a bullet through our heads. He came. Job is satisfied even though the God who came gave him absolutely no answers at all to his thousand tortured questions. He did the most important thing and he gave the most important gift: himself. It is a lover’s gift. Out of our tears, our waiting, our darkness, our agonized aloneness, out of our weeping and wondering, out of our cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” he came, all the way, right into that cry.
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