An Easter Invitation
Whenever a tragedy occurs the question arises: Where was God? Why does God allow such pain and suffering?! The theologian side of me is quick to defend God, pointing out the fact that humans chose to invite evil into our existence, and now we have to deal with the fallen, imperfect nature of our world and suffer the consequences of that disobedient choice. Furthermore, God does not stop evil because it would interfere with our Free Will—to accept or reject God’s ways. But theoretical answers do not address the emotion of our heart. God doesn’t need me to defend Him. Let’s look at life’s tragedies from God’s perspective…
After World War II, a German pastor wrote a play called “The sign of Jonas.” In this play a trial is set to find out who was responsible for the terrible years of Nazi Germany. Charges were brought against Hitler. Others blamed the munitions factories that profited from the war. Many blamed the cowardly German people who refused to stand up to Hitler. None of it seemed quite enough, until a man stood up in the audience and stated, “You know who’d to blame? God! Isn’t He the one who created this awful world? Didn’t He give Hitler the power to do that kind of evil? Didn’t He allow it to happen? The misery should be laid at His feet.”
So it was decided to put God on trial for the crime of creation; for creating a world where terrible things happen. God is found guilty of the crime and is sentenced. The judge declares that because of the enormity of God’s crime, the punishment will be the worst conceivable. “I hereby sentence the creator God to have to live in this world to experience the same anguish and pain that everyone else does.” He charged three Archangels to decide the sentence.
The first Angel walks over and says, “When God has to serve His sentence, I want Him to see what it is like to be an obscure human being. He’ll grow up in the middle of nowhere, in a country occupied by foreign forces. A Jew, in a Jew hating world.”
Another Angel approaches to state, “When God has to serve His sentence, I want Him to know what it is like to be frustrated and insecure. What it is like to be a refugee with no place to lay His head. His plans will not be fulfilled, no one will understand Him, He’ll go to His grave a failure not sure He accomplished anything.”
The final Angel says, “I’m going to see that He knows what it is like to suffer in every conceivable way. He’ll be rejected and feel the emotional pain. He’ll be spat upon and tortured, ridiculed and die the slow tortuous death of a common criminal.”
With that the lights came back on and the audience realizes, God has already served His sentence…suffering the cruelest consequences of human existence along with us. A God who truly knows the pain we experience, subjecting Himself to the horrible tragedies of life.
However, God invites us to shift our view from this sin tainted earth to His eternal heaven that His son Jesus has made available to any who want to live with Him. This is the Easter invitation!
–By Rev. Dr. William Lewis