I would like to read the sentence “do you remember so and so” without feeling an immediate sense of dread. I would likewise appreciate texting out “Did you ever know so and so” without having to follow-up with “they’re not dead, I just have a story.”
As a social scientist, I rather enjoy statistics most of the time. The few times I don’t are when I realize one person 25 or under from some aspect of my life has died every four months since I graduated high school. To put that in perspective, I graduated exactly three years and one month ago.
Where is God in this death and dying? Where is God in the middle of the deepest valley? Where is the Healer in the coffins of 18 and 19 and 20 and 21 and 23 and 25 year olds? Where is that God?
Karl Marx once wrote that religion is the opium of the people, referring to the drug-like properties of religion in reducing suffering and illusions of strength and peace. With any due respect, Marx never got himself around to the root of faith. The root of faith is not the comfort in the mourning or the cry to God (or gods) at a moment of weakness. The root of faith is looking a sunset in the face and trying to reconcile the nature of a God who paints the sky each night and plucks children from their parents before they have a chance to really start their lives. The root of faith is anchoring yourself into a vast and bottomless ocean and trusting that somehow, someway, sometime, the metal will clink on rock and you will be saved. But the root of faith is not in the clinking of the metal, but in the free-falling of it.
This free-fall, this disbelief, this insecurity is where I write to you from today. Take it or leave it, but it’s all I have left in this season of death and mourning.