by C Michael PattonOctober 3rd, 2012 31 Comments
Life has been really hard recently. I don’t have all my wits about me these days. Hardly an original thought comes to me as of late. I am just continually banking on all the theology of the cross stuff.
If I let myself and my thoughts go, I would say that so much of life is only about making it tolerable. Think about it. Death becomes me. Death becomes us. Death is such an unnatural breach to our existence. At some point, it rapes our flesh of its soul. But long before this unnatural breach of contract, the soul begins to die and it takes its spouse with it. We live while dying and we die while living.
I was talking to someone the other day that actually made an argument for the health wealth gospel. They made an argument for the health wealth gospel! As I listened to it, I think I experienced a bit of theological vertigo. I simply had never heard an informed person actually argue for such crap. But beyond theology, beyond the Bible, I actually entertained that maybe he was right. Maybe God does want us to be healthy and wealthy. Maybe all my troubles of late are unnecessary and without any transcendent purpose and value. Maybe God was not involved in my sister’s death, my mother’s paralysis, all the depression, all the pain, all the troubles, and all the death?
My cousin who, in the name and purpose of the Lord, moved us back to Oklahoma in 2007 to help take care of my mother died a few weeks ago. But death did not become him. He was a believer who gave so much of himself to God. When I was young, I heard stories about him picking up hitchhikers and giving them the Gospel. Hitchhikers! He was a millionaire many times over. Successful from the standard of the world and the church. Suddenly, at 63 years old, his life fell apart. Death became him in such an unnatural way. Alone, with a gun, he became death.
Suicide. While I understand it, it baffles me more than anything else in this fallen world. It is the epitome of our condition. To think that someone can come to a point where they are ready to end it all with a gun, a rope, or a fall is more than I can bear. I hate such pain. But I hate it most when someone does so while crying out to a God who has no plans to abort the attempt.
God warned us of such pains. God never guaranteed anything but pain, suffering, and dealing with the stench of death. All things were “very good” for a very short time, then death became it.
As I listened to this argument for the health wealth, all I could think was that this guy has yet to smell what God smells. God smells the death all around better than we do. Redemption is coming. It is not finished. There is one enemy yet to be defeated. Until then, I will keep smelling this stench without denying its unbearability. I will join God in the pain of this life that caused him to do something so drastic the cosmos still can’t comprehend what happened. Death became God. Until our resurrection, death with become me and you. Take courage.
- Health-Wealth Gospel of Suicide
- Why Is the Problem of Evil Such a Problem – Reflections on Haiti and Other Bad News
- The Reason Why the “Problem of Evil” is Such a Problem Today
- The Asphyxiation of Hope: Matthew Warren (1986-2013)
- Why Am I Excited About the Problem of Evil?