Tuesday, July 18, 2006

where is God?

The summer holidays have begun and though I'm doing some kind of summerjob at the University Hospital of Leuven, I'm celebrating those holidays. Summer is making me neglect my weblog completely...I apologize to those people who come here looking for something new to read. I don't apologize too sincerely though...I don't really know what any of us are doing surfing the internet when we could be outside enjoying the sun! (c;

I have begun reading "Where is God when it hurts?" by Philip Yancey and it's interesting. Haven't gotten very far yet and I have to admit that the book has a slower start to it then I expected. What did I expect? An answer to the question in the first chapter already? That would be a bit too easy, wouldn't it?

Yancey starts off by explaining the function of pain in our lives. The way pain was meant to protect us and it's fascinating to look into how pain does protect us. He illustrates by describing people with leprosy. Leprosy itself doesn't cause people to loose limbs in the sense of causing their flesh to deteriorate. It simply makes them insensitive to pain and because of this, leprosy patients do the most horrible things to themselves. They don't notice they're destroying themselves, because they don't feel the pain. They step into glass, ignore infected fingers, and do all sorts of things that are simply destructive to your flesh just because they don't feel it. They notice when it's already too late.

So God gave us pain receptor cells, so that we would not suffer the way these people suffer for lack of pain. I've gotten to the point in the book where Yancey decides that the question needs to be rephrased to something like: "Where is God in all the world's suffering?" Pain is something that was created with a good purpose. Where did it go wrong? Where did it get out of hand?

This is only the beginning of the book. Worth reading, that's for sure...I guess I'll be coming back to this topic when I've read more.

I mentioned my summerjob at the hospital. Let me tell you a bit about that. I'm doing logistics on the fourth floor, at geriatrics. The patients there are elderly people, many of them quite confused about why they are there and needing quite a bit of help. My respect for the people working there has grown, but my respect for the elderly is also growing.

Sometimes I help feed the patients and some of them aren't able to speak their minds anymore. That makes it hard to guess how much of reality is still getting through to them. With one man it took me two days to find out that he actually spoke French instead of Flemish. I had been talking to him, but he hadn't said anything himself. When he began to speak I was having a hard time making out what he was trying to say. It helped a lot when I started to listen in French! But one of the things he asked me was: "Please give me back my freedom." I was kind of sad when I tried to explain that he was in a hospital and not in a prison.

It must be real tough when you're finding yourself in such a helpless position, where you're not even able to eat by yourself, let alone get up out of bed! I try to find the most respectable way to help people with this, but it's not always easy. At the end of the day I go home free, but I've been confronted with the fact that some people I love will be facing similar problems in the nearer future.

I guess the best thing to do is to make the most of what we have, love intensely and look forward to heaven.

2 comments:

Luke said...

This comment is more a response to your title than your post.. but as to "where is God?".... He's right here! Look at the Church and know that God is there, found in the hearts of each of His people. Their hands move with the compassion which flows from His heart. Their mouths are filled with words of mercy, grace and truth, pouring out from the Spirit. The fruit is here, yielded up in individual's lives, edifying the corporate Body to the glory of The Bridegroom. God is here.

As you can tell, maybe, I heard a fantastic sermon yesterday. (c: It was about Paul exhorting the church of .. (either ephesus or thessalonica) to follow the example which he had given during his stay with them. We are called to such a high calling that we may be able to say, "Do as I do!" as arrogant as that sounds. It should go without saying that the ONLY way we can be such examples is by the power of God. The fellowship of believers is filled with examples of righteousness which can be modelled after. And such is our calling, to live so righteously as to be able to say, "Live like this!" (c: I've a renewed joy in being counted one with the fellowship of believers. The Church is here to reveal Christ to the world, for either judgement (that they reject Him) or redemption.

I know that I can't say along with Paul, "Do as I do." But that fact is conviction, and exhortation to me. As such, I am encouraged. I hope other readers here are encouraged as well in their race, knowing their lives can be (or already are) examples as Paul's was.

sarahm said...

yes, a new post! thx and see ya tonight :)