Yesterday my mom took my kids to see Miracles from Heaven. I didn’t go. I didn’t want to.
I still don’t understand why some people get healed and others don’t.
The son of an old friend died yesterday. Like my brother, he’d been in a motorcycle accident. He’d been in the hospital for a few days. I watched the updates on Facebook. I watched the hope and the love. People said they were praying for healing and they believed in it.
Let me just say it: Why did the girl from the movie get healed, but my friend’s son (and my brother) didn’t?
I am tired of people making God into a Great Magician who might wave his wand your way if you pray hard enough. I am tired of the God who is Miracle Worker, Great Planner, Controller of All Things. If that is who God is, it leaves many of us disappointed in the times the miracles didn’t happen, the plans sucked, and life hurt.
Two days ago God was a human on a cross. Every day God is a human on a cross. I still struggle with what that truly means. The old “Jesus died for our sins” quip feels empty now. Surely God didn’t need to kill himself to save us! I don’t get it, but if Jesus was God, then God embodied humanity. Even human death.
A God Who Suffers feels more real that A Great Magician. A God Who Died and a God Who Grieved is more understandable than a Miracle Worker.
We will always ask why. We will always seek to understand. But I don’t believe that God wanted Shaun to die or Will to die. I’ve stopped believing in a God who plans and controls every second of our lives. But a God who was ridiculed, tormented, attacked, and killed might be something I could believe in. Because that God knows that life totally, completely rips you to shreds sometimes. He knows because life did it to him, too.
Do I believe in resurrection? It’s Easter Sunday, after all. I want to. I really want to. Resurrection, rebirth, and redemption bring a tidy little end to the story, right? But today a mother is grieving. Today she will be told to have hope, but her heart will feel like it’s being ripped out.
What did Jesus’ friends do with his death and resurrection? His closest friend denied him. A woman looked Jesus in the face and couldn’t recognize him. A group of men were afraid and locked themselves away from the world. Being human is complicated, both when Jesus was alive and now.
Perhaps resurrection and miracle aren’t supposed to be big, magical shows up on a stage. Maybe they are the smallest things, like the people who sit in the hospital waiting room and the people who bring you a casserole at a funeral and the people who let you rage at God without judgement.
It’s okay if this Easter isn’t triumphant. Maybe The God On The Cross will be what helps you through. Maybe resurrection and miracle will come to you in the quietest, smallest of ways.