“Can the pot say to the potter ‘You know nothing!”?
“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who made it “Why did you make me like this”? Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special uses and some for common use?”
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a nice, inspiring post about seeing God in other people, specifically my cousin Sam. Well, this is not that post. Consider this the bipolar shift on my blog.
I’m feeling really angry today about some things. Angry at God. Questioning God. I feel like those 2 verses I posted above are just a couple of the verses Christians use to try and shut up people like me. Shut up the questions. Because these are some ugly questions I’m asking myself. Ugly things I see. Questions that are painful and uncomfortable. And I think a lot of Christians just want us to shut up and be a pot and be happy with our lot in life as a pot. Subject to the whims of the potter. Not complaining if we’re used to hold the finest wine or a pile of shit.
Problem is, I’m not a pot.
And I don’t think God made me to be a pot.
God made me with a brain. And eyes. And a heart. And those things see and hear and feel and look around at some of the things that happen in this world and I am very sorry but there are a lot of things that just don’t jive with this “Loving, all-powerful God” that we profess to believe in. You can sugar coat it with all the Christian platitudes you’d like, but at the end of the day I am still left with questions. BIG, horrible questions. And I know I’m not the only one. I’m not a pot. If God wanted me to be a pot he should’ve made me mute. I don’t think God wants us to be pots.
If you’ve been watching the news at all, there was a 10 year old little girl in Colorado who was kidnapped on her walk to school and then found brutally murdered. It’s all over the news here. Last night on the news they were covering her memorial service, and at one point they used a term like “wonderful” or something to describe the way the community has come together in the wake of this tragedy.
I’m sorry. There is nothing, NOTHING wonderful about this story. I don’t care how you spin it. I don’t care if her mother goes on to rescue millions of children in Jessica’s name. This is not wonderful. This is horrible. That girl lived the last hours of her life in fear and pain. No amount of good things can take that away, can make that better. No beautiful memorial service. no laws passed in her name. Not. Wonderful.
As a parent, especially of a 10 year old girl, hearing stories like this makes me sick because you transfer it to your own kid or a kid in your life. You can’t help it. And I know I’m supposed to say that God can redeem anything, that God can make beauty out of ashes, that “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.” Well, it doesn’t get much uglier than the murder of a child, and I don’t think any amount of grace can make that beautiful.
And then this morning I found out that someone I know has had her cancer return. It totally took the wind out of me. She’s a wife and mom and through her job has impacted many, many people in an amazing way. I know she could have success with her treatment, but still. I feel like some Christians response to this would be that “they can’t wait to see how God works through this!!” That’s such crap to me. I don’t have to have had cancer to know that it has to be awful in every. single. way. Even if you get through it.
So what do we believe here? What do we believe in the face of these two stories, and the millions of others as horrible? What do we say about God? That he allows these tragedies to occur to use for his own purposes? What kind of evil, masochistic God is that? That his heart breaks when these awful things happen, but allows them to happen anyway? What kind of impotent, powerless God is that? What do we say about a world where innocent families are burned alive in their homes because they chose to vote against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Or a world where my god-daughter in Cambodia was sold into sex slavery as a child? (One lovely “christian” woman told me in an online argument about abortion that “At least she is alive!” I swear to Jesus that if we’d been having that conversation in person I would’ve punched her goddamn lights out.) How can we possibly look at these things and NOT question the God who makes? allows? sits back and watches? these things happen??
The answers the church gives aren’t good enough. And the fact is that we don’t ask these questions. We avoid them. We say things like “It’s God’s will” or “They’re in a better place” or “God will bring you through it” because we’re scared shitless about these same types of tragedies happening to us. I know I am. But those things don’t give me answers. Or comfort. They don’t explain anything. We don’t want to ask these questions because they are uncomfortable and WE CAN’T ANSWER THEM.
We say things like “God won’t give you anything more than you can handle” which is utter bullshit. If that were true people wouldn’t commit suicide or become alcoholics and drug addicts and abusers themselves.
I can’t quit God. I can’t bring myself to be an atheist. But I sure as hell don’t get him sometimes. Some days I feel and see him clearly. But others, like today, my vision is clouded over by the reality of the harshness of life. Of the things we do to one another (and I don’t think I believe in an actual Satan so I’m not going to go blaming my confusion on him. I take responsibility for my own questions, blasphemous as they may be). Of the fact that it’s impossible to make sense out of tragedy. Maybe we will one day get all the answers in heaven but that tastes very bitter to us left here on earth.
Some people are great pots. They don’t ask a lot of questions. But not me. I don’t think I’m a pot. And if I am I sure am awful at it.