A few years ago Dana and I had a miscarriage. It was a horrible experience. It’s hard to describe, really. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. It’s like a moment in time, a moment in your life that you forever look back on. It’s a defining moment. A moment where all of time stops, everything is put on hold, and nothing really makes any sense.
For us, God didn’t make any sense.
I remember sitting in the hallway of the hospital as the doctor muttered the words that we had lost our baby.
“Your baby is gone.”
I remember hearing those words and then hearing a buzzing sound in my ears as the noises and world around me was drowned out. I remember Dana collapsing into my arms. And I remember feeling so confused.
My upbringing told me that ...
God had a plan.
God was letting it happen for a reason.
God knew better than me.
... My mind was flooded with all of the easy answers, but deep down inside I hated that god. I hated the idea of a god who had the power to stop my unborn child from dying, but invisibly stood in the hospital hallway with his arms crossed, keeping all the power to himself as he used the voice in my head to tell me that it was all part of his perfect plan.
“You can take your plan and shove it” was pretty much all I could think.
I also remember not crying. And at the moment I didn’t really know why. At first I thought it was because I was just trying to be strong for Dana. Like my husband instincts kicked in and my only concern was to make sure my wife was OK. And that’s true. But looking back on it now, I think that as the words came out of the doctor’s mouth my heart went into a wrestling match with my brain that still goes on today ...
My mind said that God had a plan.
My heart said that god could shove the plan.
My mind said that God was sovereign.
My heart said that god was a monster.
My mind said that God knew what He was doing.
My heart said that god was a fraud.
... And then over the next year or so my heart would continually tell my mind to tap into its brain power to really think about it - how can a GOOD God who is ALL POWERFUL stand by and allow evil to happen when He has the power to stop it?
If God has the power to stop a child from being raped, but chooses to stand by and watch because it fits into His perfect plan for that child, God is not a good God ... He’s a monster.
And I think Jesus would say the same thing because I really doubt that the Jesus we see in the Bible would stand in the corner of a room consoling a child as he/she is being raped all the while telling him/her, “I know it doesn’t make sense now, but I’m letting this happen because it’s my will for your life. Your misery will become your ministry and you’ll help a lot of people.”
And so after our miscarriage I pushed the problem of evil to the back burner of my heart and mind until Thomas Oord’s new book “God Can’t” burst onto the scene and brought the questions back to the surface.
And now after reading the book and talking to Thomas I’m wondering - what if evil happens ...
NOT because God allows it.
NOT because God choose to let it happen.
NOT because it’s part of God’s plan.
NOT because He knows better than we do.
... What if evil happens because God CAN’T stop it? What if our miscarriage happened not because it was part of God’s will, but because it wasn’t part of His will and He was unable to stop it?
Check out more in this week’s interview with my friend Thomas.