MJ Kirby ~ Theodicy Lived Out

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On Sunday, March 29th our 2015 Confirmation Class waved their palm branches boldly proclaiming,”Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is The One that comes in the Name of the Lord!”

On tiny bent knees, surrounded by the strength of the community of faith, we prayed over each of them that…

The Holy Spirit (would) work within you,

that being born through water and the Spirit,

you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our youngest, Duke, was one of these tender branches grafted into the faith that had been nurtured in him from birth.

Duke took the oath he was making seriously.

A week prior our son wrestled with whether or not he was actually ready to make such a hefty proclamation. His reservation? An unanswered (and I would add unanswerable) question that loomed heavy on his fledgling heart…

“Why did God ‘allow’ his brother to die?”

Join the club, Kid.

Your pondering includes you in great company with theological Giants who have been unable to unravel the perplexing mysteries of God and evil in the world and suffering and death and dying.

Solomon, one of these greats, wrestled with such despairing wonderings…

I, the Teacher, was the king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless–like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered. Ecclesiastes 1:12-15

Life doesn’t wait for you to figure it all out.

The very next day after Duke took that historic confirmation leap, pledging to strive to follow Christ all of his earthly days…

He was sucker punched.

And Eddie and I had the *wonderful* parental privilege of fumbling through attempting an explanation to our twelve year old as to why his DeDe took her life.

She was sad. And sick. And not thinking clearly. And made a terrible decision.

Screams of disbelief and horror. Deep guttural cries.

“No! No! Not Dede! Not MY grandmother!”

Deeper sobs of loss. Of lack of understanding.

“Why? Why did she think I didn’t need a grandmother anymore?”

We have no answers. But…

“God loves you. DeDe loves you. We love you. We are sorry.”

And now I’m holding a broken hearted little boy faced once again with a horrific tragedy I cannot explain, and I, too, am wrestling with “Why.”

and “Not Fair.”

and “How Come.”

And “Where were YOU” when this happened?

I shake my fists at God and scream and sob and ask (Beg. Plead. Barter. Bargain.) for a  do-over that can’t be done over.

No answer.

No explanation.

No do-over.

I’m left with thoughts of how Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless Life can seem!

Duke wondered if he could make a vow to follow God after what happened to his brother.

I, too, wonder if I am capable of keeping my vow to serve God, church and community when I have such unanswerable questions haunting my imagination. I wonder if I am “right” for the role of pastoring young people when I feel so completly lost myself? When I am so angry with God. Feel so utterly betrayed. Broken beyond repair. Cast down. Abandoned to the pit of hell.

Returning to the giants, I am reminded of the internal wrestling of The One–you know Jesus Christ–God in skin–that we waved palm branches to honor on Confirmation Sunday…

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest. – Psalm 22:1-3

And I think…Duke and I are in good company in our perplexed ponderings.

Reprinted with permission from www.7piecepuzzle.com.

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Martha June Kirby is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and serves as minister of youth at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

In 2010 the second oldest of the five Kirby kids, Jeremy, died suddenly. In 2015, she lost her mother to suicide; she and her husband are now raising her niece along with their other children.

MJ blogs at www.7piecepuzzle.com.

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