Sunday, January 31, 2010

2 Part Sunday: Part 1

I have quite a few thoughts I would like to put in this blog today so I would like to introduce the first ever two-part entry. This first entry is a rather random observation that came to me during the church service this morning and the other is more of an actual Karl Krass update. They sorta both apply to Karl but I felt weird including them in the same blog (basically, it would be too long for people to read and they would lose interest. I'm tricking y'all by separating the posting into two different entries...)

So without further ado...

This morning at church we sang this song. There is a line in the chorus of the song that goes like this, "Your love heals every disease, your love is everything." Now just for a little history, I heard this song the first Sunday I was back in Boston after hearing about Karl's illness. My response to this song: I was 100%, completely and totally, royally PISSED! I mean, the melody of the song was great, the whole congregation was singing, it was for all intensive purposes "worship". The only problem, is that I don't think it's true. Now I'm not implying that God's love is incapable of curing all diseases. It certainly can. But the song seems to be suggesting that is "does". If this were the case, my dad wouldn't have died of cancer 12 years ago tomorrow (I'll blog more about that tomorrow). Believe me, we prayed for my dad, other people prayed for my dad, my dad prayed for my dad, etc. At the end of the day, God's love didn't cure his disease.

So about four months ago when I heard this song I, well...just left church. Not the building entirely; I just went outside into the loggia (by loggia I mean foyer but I told a friend today that he needs to start incorporating loggia into his every day vocabulary) and just sat there stewing for about 45 minutes. A friend came out and we talked for the entirety of the sermon. I felt a little bad after the service but I was just so doggon angry.

Fast forward four months. We sang that song again today, and for whatever reason I wasn't so pissed this time. I've been thinking about it all day and I've come to a somewhat profound realization. You see, this morning before church the Lord put it on my heart to read Mark 2: 1-5. I thought it had something to do with the small group I'm leading tomorrow but it actually was to prepare me for this song today.

If you're not familiar with the story, I'll briefly summarize. There was this dude, the bible doesn't give him a name so we will call him Lex Israel. Lex was paralyzed. Lex's friends heard that this guy named Jesus was going around healing the sick. Lex's friends were obviously pumped to take Lex to Jesus. Unfortunately there were so many people there that they couldn't make it to Jesus. There solution: climb on the roof and the lower Lex down to Jesus via a hole in the ceiling.

I wish I were that good of a friend.

Anyways, Jesus is SO moved by the love that Lex's friend's have for Lex that Jesus says to Lex, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Ok, here's what this is so significant. Jesus was uber impressed by these friends and more specifically the FAITH of these friends. To reward Lex, Jesus decides not to heal him but to forgive his sins. To Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is way more important than the ability to walk.

Maybe the point isn't actually that God can heal diseases. Maybe to God, healing someone is like Lance Armstrong riding his bike around the Vatican City (.17 square miles). It's just not that big of a deal. Believe me, I hope that God heals Karl and that even as I'm writing this I hope that tumor is nonexistent. But maybe we're missing something. Maybe there's this bigger picture that God is painting that we don't and never will understand. Actually, you know what, there has to be a bigger picture that God is painting that we don't understand.

Now I realize fully well that I'm not the one with cancer, and part of me thinks even as I'm writing this "Keith, you're full of crap. You are just trying to justify God's inaction." Maybe. But the more I think about illness and pain and suffering my soul just naturally looks for something deeper, something that actually does make sense amidst the crappiness of life. And for some reason, this whole praying for healing thing just feels like I'm skimming the surface and that there is something way deeper that I'm just not getting.

I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:12 where Paul says, "Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." I don't understand all this right now, but I think one day I will.

You want to know something pretty ironic, for all you savvy bible scholars out there 1 Corinthians is often referred to as "the love chapter." 1 Corinthians 12:8 says, "Your love never fails." Maybe the song actually is right. Maybe God's love is actually the question. We just don't understand the answer...

Part II coming shortly.

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