As I was driving to work today, a quick rain shower of sprinkles hit my window. Stopped at a stoplight, I looked up and saw the sun peeking out from behind a cloud directly in front of me– one of those incredible sunbeams shooting into the sky moments, when the brightness seems even brighter because it has the contrast of the clouds in front of it, and the streaks of sunlight seem almost personified.
But I was looking at it through raindrops on my windshield.
When I looked back at the raindrops, I didn’t really notice the sun. Then I looked at the sun, and the raindrops became less noticeable- they were just something I was looking through.
And I realized, as I tried to take a picture of it to remember the moment, that life is a lot like that picture. There’s hope and beauty and happiness, but often we have to look at it through raindrop splatters. Sometimes we’re enjoying the sunlight, but other times life is more focused on the raindrops.
The last few weeks have been filled with friends facing hardships, in their marriages, relationships, or families. It’s cliche to say we look for answers during these times, but it’s true. If we honestly believe God is Love, surely there’s some explanation? Theologically, we try to explain suffering away by sin. And yes, if we didn’t have original sin, there wouldn’t be suffering. But that’s a hard answer to give to someone who is suffering from something other than personal sin. Maybe it’s the right answer, but it doesn’t make sense in our heart.
What about the young devout married couple who are yearning to have a baby but are infertile? What about when we want something good and holy, but God chooses to take it away or not give it to us?
I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes we should stop coming up with answers. Sometimes it’s better to just tell ourselves that life doesn’t make sense. There aren’t answers to everything. I have tried to rationalize pain, to explain suffering, to understand sorrow. And it just doesn’t make sense. You can’t explain why your heart feels a certain way. There aren’t answers. And yet, in a funny way, I think that’s the first step to finding the answer.
A friend was struggling with something recently — a suffering that didn’t seem just, didn’t seem to make sense — and I realized that God was asking a great deal of this person.
“Why?” I wanted to shout at the tabernacle. “It doesn’t make sense. Why is it so HARD?” I don’t hear voices when I pray, but if I do, I’d tell you that I heard:
If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.
And I looked up at the cross and realized my friend wasn’t alone.