‘Don’t just sit there watching, DO SOMETHING!’,
… his prayer began. ‘The world is broken, people are just being HORRIBLE, and its scary. I don’t understand why you don’t just come here and stop it all.’
It was definitely heartfelt. And with the Amen came, ‘Mummy did I just sound angry? Is it ok to be angry with God?’.
We finished the bedtime prayers together, and I tucked him in and switched out the light. As I sat in the darkness that’s when the quiet talking began; ‘Mummy, I’m sorry, I don’t want to feel angry with God’, ‘hey, it’s ok, sometimes we do feel that way. What’s happening round the world at the moment is really scary, I’m not surprised you feel upset. There are people we know about in the Bible who felt it too you know’. ‘Does God mind?’, ‘I think He understands… In fact I wonder if He’s feeling angry & upset about what’s happening too, what do you think?’, ‘maybe, but if He is why isn’t he doing something??…’. ‘Do you think he really is doing nothing?’, ‘Well, I suppose being upset too is doing something, but…’. ‘Sometimes as a parent I don’t come and just stop things, even if it’s something I don’t want you to do, even sometimes if I know that the consequences will be difficult for you to deal with. Because I know that sometimes that’s the only way for you to grow and learn.’ ‘Doesn’t that hurt you Mummy, knowing we might get into trouble of might get a bit hurt?’, ‘yes it does hurt. I think God does that too, and I think it hurts Him just like it hurts me & Daddy’.
There was a pause, and sleepy shuffling to get the covers comfy; a few yawns but we were not finished yet. ‘Wouldn’t it just be easier for God to just do something that stops it all, all at once??’, ‘that reminds me of a Bible story when He did do just that, when He only saved Noah & his family…’ – ‘… And He promised at the end of that that He wouldn’t ever do that again didn’t He?’. ‘He did…. There’s a tiny little verse in the new testament that says God is patiently waiting, waiting & waiting, to make sure there’s time for everyone to choose His love; Jesus came as a baby to show us that love, and invite us back; when Jesus comes back again He will make everything new, just as it should be but that’s the day when choosing time is up, finished.’ – ‘what will happen to us then??’, ‘the Bible promises that when we choose Him we get hidden in Him, so we can be sure we will be kept safe when He comes again’, – ‘but if we don’t choose Him…?’ – ‘then there’s no promise of being hidden in Jesus’love… It’s now that there’s time to choose. You could say that God isn’t doing something drastic right now to stop all these things because he’s giving us time to choose Him’.
My hot choc is getting colder now, I remind him it’s time to settle and try to drink some. ‘But there’s always something He can do!’, ‘yes there is always something we can do!… What was it that the teacher said in assembly this week?’ – ‘that there are three things about Jesus the King that inspire people… Ah, he said Jesus inspires people to do things for other people’ – ‘yes (I just happened to have stepped in at the back to listen this week) and he showed photos of Christians doing amazing, radical things for others all round the world and said, look here’s Jesus helping, here’s Jesus doing something – Christians believe they are part of His body on earth right now, His hands and His feet.’
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Teresa of Avila 16th century
Finally he began to settle, which gave me time to settle my thoughts. It was a great question I thought to myself, ‘why doesn’t God just do something to stop it all?’. I prayed that in A’s sleepiness he would sense something new about the wonder of God’s love for His broken world just as I had as we had talked and wrestled with it together. I had been reminded of the patient Father love that lets go so that we can freely come back; of the hurt and pain in the heart of the perfect parent, seeing the brokenness, fear and confusion of their child’s world; of the love that chose me to choose Him before the beginning of time; of the love that reaches out, that came to us as a baby, lived alongside us, died for us – that longs that none should perish, that sits with the broken, lifts the fallen, brings the lost into families; of the love that chooses to include small fragile me in that pouring out of His heart into His world.