November 14, 2005

Looking for Answers

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:50 pm

Several days ago, I attended the funeral of my stepbrother, Rod. (There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.) 56 years old. Survived by his wife, four grown children, three grandchildren, a large extended family and many, many friends.

Esophageal cancer.

56 years old.

It makes no sense.

From a song by blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi:

Looking For Answers

How many times must I sit here and tell you goodbye?
How many times must I sit all alone and cry?
How many times must I ask mercy on me?
How many times must I beg to be free?

Well I’m looking for answers, looking for answers that nobody knows
Looking for answers, Looking for answers that nobody knows
Oh I’m Looking for answers from above not from below

How many times must I learn to live?
How many times must I learn to love to give?
How many times must I get down on my knees to pray?
How many times must I pray did you say?

Well I’m looking for answers, looking for answers that nobody knows
Looking for answers, Looking for answers that nobody knows
Oh I’m Looking for answers from above not from below

Lord I love you in so many ways
Lord I love you each and every day
But now is the time when I must ask you why
Why must we live and why must we die?

Well I’m looking for answers, looking for answers that nobody knows
Looking for answers, Looking for answers that nobody knows
Oh I’m Looking for answers from above not from below

Now I know all about the resurrection, and most of the time I truly believe it. But it just seems God has this game rigged. We can’t go through our day-to-day lives without ignoring death, that those we love could be taken from us at any time. But then death comes crashing through our protective shell, and we can’t deny it any longer. We are knocked flat, crawling before God, thanking God for the promise of eternal life, but in pain all the same.

So I’m looking for answers.

Job was looking for answers too, and God answered him:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements–surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?”

Of course this is an answer that is no answer. God says that we don’t have the right to even ask the question.

But I’m still asking.

13 Comments

  1. My condolences on your family’s loss.

    Comment by Jarred — November 14, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  2. I never understood why anyone would recommend reading the book of Job to make people feel better. It always made me feel worse.

    This is probably stupid for me to post on a weblog run by a Lutheran, but I know that the anonymous Catholics at meaning-of-life.info have some interesting thoughts here suggesting that the trials people go thru are a very important part of the path to salvation. Dennis Bratcher, from the “Church Of The Nazarene” (roughly Methodist) has a very different suggestion here about the problem of evil.

    I definitely don’t have all the answers, however, seeing how I’m not God. One thing which has really helped me is thinking beyond this life; just because things don’t work out in this world doesn’t mean they won’t work out in the next, at least in my view. Maybe I’m just a hopeless optimist, however.

    Comment by Alex — November 14, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

  3. My sympathies on your loss……

    Death is just something that happens. Some the best people seem to get taken away so quickly!

    I also question God sometimes, but thats human nature.

    Knowing that death could happen at anytime, it makes you
    want to make sure you are right with God.

    Comment by lukeNC — November 14, 2005 @ 2:57 pm

  4. My sister-n-law was 54. It was cancer too, though I am not sure what kind. I never thought to ask. We just found out she had it less than two weeks ago and they gave her two months to live. She didn’t last two weeks.

    My dad died at 55, two years ago. He had a coronary driving his truck and wrecked as a result. We had to remove his life support a week later. The doctors said if we didn’t that he would die a horrible death as he bled out of every orifice and crevice in his body.

    People just keep dying younger and younger. I don’t understand it. It seems the harder their life the younger they die. I just keep praying. I am sure God will explain it all one day. I just keep praying that I will understand His explanation. 🙂

    Comment by Angel — November 14, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

  5. This scripture is a comfort to me:

    “This I recall to my mind,
    Therefore I have hope.

    Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed,
    Because His compassions fail not.

    They are new every morning;
    Great is Your faithfulness.

    “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
    “Therefore I hope in Him!”

    The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
    To the soul who seeks Him.

    It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
    For the salvation of the LORD.”

    Lamentations 3:21-26

    I am sorry for your loss, Bob, may God comfort you and your family.

    Comment by Jacke — November 14, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

  6. My condolences

    Comment by wildwest — November 15, 2005 @ 7:12 am

  7. I don’t have any answers; all I can offer is my prayers for you and your family.

    Comment by BruceA — November 15, 2005 @ 9:09 pm

  8. I don’t think that God says we shouldn’t have questions. Tragedies like the loss of your brother-in-law are bound to make us ask questions. It’s so wrong, such a violation of what we know, deep down, is meant to be our destiny, especially for someone so young.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Mark Daniels

    Comment by Mark Daniels — November 15, 2005 @ 9:32 pm

  9. I’m sorry, I meant your stepbrother and wrote “brother-in-law.”

    Blessings!

    Mark

    Comment by Mark Daniels — November 15, 2005 @ 9:33 pm

  10. Bob,

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    What I don’t know is why God set up His Creation this way. I don’t know why our loved-ones die. I don’t know why we hurt so much when they do. I don’t know how to find answers to our unanswerable questions.

    What I do know is that I never feel farther from, or closer to God than when I’m hurting: “Farther from God” because I can’t feel His presence in my pain, and “Closer to God” because I’m never so open to Him than when I’m vulnerable and beseeching Him for His touch.

    I know that it’s cliché to talk about how our pain brings us closer to each other, but somehow the sharing seems to help ease the burden, and hearing seems to strengthen the listener. I know that in listening to you, I have a fellow traveler on this spiritual path, not afraid to question what we don’t understand. Thank you for your companionship.

    Gary

    Comment by Gary — November 16, 2005 @ 6:03 am

  11. Thanks for all your words of comfort, I appreciate it.

    Angel, you and your family continue to be in my prayers.

    Comment by Bob — November 16, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

  12. It saddens my heart greatly to think you are experiencing such pain; pain which mankind was never meant to experience at all. It really is a funny thing about death it does not make any sense, at least not as far as our own feelings go; when we are happy, in love, excited about something really great, nothing could feel more right more “natural”! But death the plague of mankind, our long fought enemy, is anything but “natural” everything about it feels wrong. If you are looking for answers I have them and i would like to share them with you.

    Genesis as we all know is the account of mankinds creation, our start on earth, however is it god who set up this life for us, this cycle of life and death that we all know so well? If genesis is an accurate account of his creation then why not consult him our god who has the answers by his word the Bible. Genesis 3:3 says Eve “but as for eating of the tree that is in the middle of the garden god has said you must not eat from it no you must not touch it that you do not die,” we all know that account but what is interesting is that adam lived to a ripe old age of 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). So Adam must have started dieing slowly as an imperfect sinful man,and we today live much shoter life spans, similar to making a copy of a copy of a copy using a dirty copy machine. but the question remains, Had Adam and Eve not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and bad then where would they be today?

    You know we as humans are pretty stubborn creatures when we set out to do something we intend to finish it. Be it finish repairing the house, or even just finish cleaning house, anything could happen in the way of our completing it but when that passes we again attempt to finish it. Is god any different? Lets find out! there are three things that god cannot do
    1.God cannot die (Habakuk 1:12)
    2.God cannot lie (Titus 1:2)
    3.God does not change (Malachi 3:6)
    Focus on the point that god does not change. he does not go through the physiological or hormonal changes that we as humans undrego, nor is he influenced by others to change his values. What was good to him in the beggining of time must still be good to him now. Like what?

    Well back to Genesis. In genesis chapter 1:31 god said that he looked at everything he had made and it was very good. Certainly that which we know as death is not good to us or even to our family it causes such pain to our hearts and as gods children he must have empathy for us. The conditions that were good to him was for man to live forever, to enjoy a paradise earth where even the animals were at peace. This is how things were in the beggining. But what about our day.

    Jesus when dieing was asked by the criminal next to him, that he be remembered when he got into his kingdom, and he said you will be with me in paradise, or in the greek of that day pa-hr-a-da-so which literally means garden or garden-like, now think back to where adam and Eve lived; it was called the “garden” of eden (luke 23:43). So God does intend to restore the good conditions to the earth that he originally purposed.

    Please do ask god by consulting his word the bible; read it daily for he encourages you to become his friend and seek him out and remember that there are answers that make sense for god’s word is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two edged sword(hebrews 4:12)

    Whenever you feel that god is against you remember the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,and that satan himself making things very hard onall of us(1 john 5:19)

    If you want more help please contact me or go to http://www.watchtower.org to find answers.
    I wish you well

    Comment by Jeremy — January 21, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  13. JESUS SAID IN JOHN 10:10 that the thief who is SATAN COMES TO STEAL KILL AND DESTROY PEOPLE .
    JESUS SAID HE GIVES PEOPLE LIFE AND MORE ABUNDANT LIFE. BUT MOST PEOLE BLAME GOD FOR EVERY DISASTER
    DEATH AND ACCIDENT, BUT THEY ARE WRONG. SICKNESS, CANCER, AIDS, ETC.. COMES FROM THE DEVIL.
    JESUS THREW THE DEVIL OUT OF HEAVEN ONTO THIS EARTH AND IF YOU DONT KNOW GODS WORD FOR YOUR
    PROTECTION YOU WILL BE DECEIVED. IF YOU ARE INTRESTED IN LEARNING DETAILS I CAN HELP YOU
    MY MOTHER DIED FROM KIDNEY DISEASE AND I HAD THE SAME QUESTIONS , BUT JESES TOLD ME HE WAS
    NOT THE KILLER. GOD IS LOVE IT IS THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF GODS WORD THAT PEOPLE
    PERISH. I HAVE SCRIPTURES THAT REVEAL THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE AND
    HEAL YOUR HEART. TERRY TREVINO.

    Comment by terry trevino — September 15, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

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