I’m an incredibly unbiased observer when it comes to youth soccer. Having seen at least a thousand games–slight hyperbole but close to the truth–I appreciate good soccer. And Ethan is an amazing player.
The holiday tournament this weekend was fun to watch. Ethan’s team won two games, beating a premier team and an unbeaten team. They fell to another team, 2-1, in a game that had questionable calls and even more questionable sportsmanship.
Because of the way they set it up, the two teams they beat ended up in the playoffs. Try as I might, I couldn’t see how they figured that one out.
Ethan wasn’t happy about it. It made no sense to him. They’d worked hard. In his mind (and mine) they’d earned a place in the finals. There wasn’t an explanation that would satisfy.
Life isn’t fair. I know that intellectually. There were legitimate reasons that made sense to someone why this was how they were going to call this tournament. I don’t have to understand–it is what it is.
In life, I want to understand. I want to grasp why things happen. I want the reasons to make sense.
They often don’t.
Why did three very dear friends in the span of two weeks lose loved ones? Why did another friend lose two daughters shortly after their birth? Why does a hard-working young man careen off the road in a one-car crash that requires surgery to remove part of his skull so his brain can swell? Why does a loving couple lose their only child in a freak accident?
There are no easy explanations. Those who don’t believe in a powerful and gracious God see these acts as unlucky twists of fate. Bad karma. They also see this as proof that a loving God couldn’t possibly exist. Those who believe in a powerful and gracious God are often at a loss to explain how He could allow such awful things. I’m often in this last group.
I think I have the wrong perspective.
If God is all powerful, all knowing and infinite, He doesn’t owe this finite me an explanation.
When Job ran into a long bout of “bad luck”, losing all his children, home and health, he never got a response from God as to why it happened. Instead, he was asked questions regarding his understanding of how this world came into being and continues to exist and work.
Job’s answer showed he had the wrong perspective.
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset Your plans…I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.” Job 42:2-3
God has plans and a much bigger picture in mind than our own personal blinders allow us to see. So many folks don’t even think about God until bad things happen, and then they choose to blame Him for what they don’t understand.
God isn’t surprised by our questions. He doesn’t promise closure, but for those who believe in Him, He will be their Hope, Rock and Fortress.
I may not understand a lot of what happens, but I do know the One who has all the answers.
And I’d much rather He carry the load of that knowledge than try to shoulder it myself.