Posted by: Dan | March 25, 2005

On Having All The Answers

Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the flame of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from my hand: you will lie down in torment.
– Isaiah 50.10-11

It is the servant who walks in darkness. It is the servant who does not know where he goes or why. He only knows that he is walking in obedience and relying on his God. It is those who claim to see, those who claim to have a light, that are consumed in the very fire they have created. Those who have ears to hear let them hear.

I am weary of Christians who speak of faith and yet have never stepped into the unknown. Don't tell me you have faith if you have never done so. Tell me that you hope you have faith – for until you undergo such an experience, how can you know? Of course, my question for you is, how is it that you have professed faith for so long and yet have never stepped into the unknown?

I wish Christians would remember these verse before they even think of speaking to those who are suffering. Suffering is so often the experience of that great unknown. Suffering plunges is into that impenetrable darkness. And Christians dare, they fucking dare, to say to those in that darkness, “Oh, well, God is teaching you something through this.” How can they dare to say that? They have become those who are burning themselves and others in the very fire they claim to see by. That answer isn't an answer given to comfort the person who is suffering. It is an answer given to comfort the person speaking. It's defiling. Basically, they can't live in the pain that the other is experiencing and so they provide an answer that comforts themselves – at the expense of the other's suffering.

A professor of mine tells a story of a friend of his (another professor) who lost a daughter in a drug overdose. This friend was teaching a class when the police arrived to say his daughter was found in a pile of garbage in the back of an alley. Some people (my professor not included) decided to tell the father that God was using the experience to teach him something. His reflection on this is profound,

“When these people had to choose between their comfortable theology and being my friend, they chose their comfortable theology.”

Needless to say, this man wants little to do with Christianity or God.

And I see it over and over again with the people that I love. I heard it over and over again when I was kicked out. I've known person after person whose story is like that professor's daughter.

Dear Christians, I will continue to love you and journey with you, even though you break my heart and destroy the people I love. But for today I'll voice a prophetic, “fuck you,” and spend some time mourning. Woe to those who counsel such things. You may find yourselves lying down in torment.

I always thought for sure that she'd be the one to get out of here and make a life for herself.
But we found her in the little league park (in the dugout it was cold in the dark), and no one knew why she wouldn't wake up.
I think she finally made it back home.

-Rancid

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