I know a woman who has Stage 4 lung cancer. It spread to her brain and to her liver before it was discovered. She is now in the process of chemo and radiation.
She has two young sons and a husband. She’s only 40 years old.
This is not fair.
Of course it isn’t. And it never has been. Any time parents get cancer, or children die before their parents, or grandparents die before they can know their grandchildren it’s not fair. Some people cite this as a reason not to believe in God. Such a screwed-up, unfair world cannot possibly be under the control of a loving God, can it?
And I admit, I’ve had my doubts. I still do, all the time. Today, when a co-worker joked that Christianity should be one of the things in the world that we “get rid of,” I laughed. Because Christianity has been at the root of many, many things . . . and many of them aren’t good.
But here is something good. Today, this woman that I know sent an email asking us to pray with her for miracles, whatever they may look like, secure in the knowledge that we will. All along, she has had support and prayer and love, as have her husband and sons. She has had a community of 150 people to shoulder the small pieces of the burden that we can, and in the process made it a bit less heavy for her and her family.
And at the root of this? Christianity. Our belief in God, and in Christ . . . and in the Spirit that prompts us to show up on Sunday, and share and pray and work together for something that we can only see very, very dimly.
I’m not sure that this can redeem centuries of hatred and violence and death, at least in the minds of some. But this sort of thing happens all the time, all over the place. And for me, it’s what keeps me coming back and participating in church and a life of faith. If religion brings out the worst in people and in communities, it also brings out the best.
When I see love in action, I want to be a part of it. I want to believe.