"Why would God allow such suffering?" I was 15 years old when I made that statement and my grandpa had just been diagnosed with cancer. My mom dealt with her grief by upping her drinking and I decided God wasn't worth believing in. By the time I was in grade 12 I'd already had a few bitchy discussions with friends of faith and mocked anyone who believed in God.
My eventual turning towards God was a gradual process. I went from atheist to believing there was a God the summer I was a newlywed, and from there to surrending to God a few months after I sobered up 6 years later. It's been a sometimes wild ride since. I've joked with only daughter that it's a wonder she and her brothers don't have spiritual whiplash for all the fast curves we've been around as her dad and I explored different tangents in our faith journey.
Reading this post yesterday brought me back just over 4 years ago when dearest one's brother died. I have a picture of some artist's rendition of Jesus (I've heard it described as a Californian Jesus, no offense to Californians) At that time I spent many early mornings sitting in the darkness with only a candle lit to illuminate Jesus's face. I still don't have an answer to why God allows suffering. I do believe God doesn't cause it.
The morning dearest one's brother died I stood before that picture of Jesus, with tears streaming down my face, and found myself at a turning point. Either God was a good God or He wasn't. Either He was a God to be trusted in no matter what life threw my way or He wasn't. It felt like my heart was being ripped right out of me to surrender to a God who would allow such tragedy to happen. But,by His grace, I did. And ever since then I've had a deep knowing that no matter what life throws at me I do not go through it alone. I believe that Jesus hunkers down beside me. I know that I will be okay even in the worst of life's circumstances. Yes, I sometimes lose sight of this belief. I'm only human. But when I get really still there's still that deep knowing of how temporary this all this and that I will be okay. Even when Jesus masquerades as being from California.