I’ll never forget watching an interview of Carry Underwood sharing about what it was like to go through three painful miscarriages, one after the other.
My heart truly went out to her as I listened to her tearfully describe the excruciating time she and her family endured. Underwood, who is openly Christian, talked about how she sought answers from God.
“God, we just know this wasn’t Your timing, and that’s alright.”
I respect Underwood’s faith and am glad she was able to eventually find solace in her Christian beliefs during that hard season. But as she finished making the above statement, my heart hurt for her for another reason.
Are miscarriages really God’s punishment for getting pregnant outside of His determined timeframe?
Does this not essentially make God a sovereign abortionist?
Pardon my language, but Christians say this kind of bullshit all the time. I am guilty of it myself. We mean well — we really do. But in our quest for answers in a world of uncertainty and injustice, we’ve constructed horrendous religious explanations that are almost as bad as the tragedies we intend them to explain.
Where is the comfort in believing God aborts pregnancies?
In the same way, how can we believe it’s really loving of God to afflict people with cancer?
And why do we say we must’ve missed what God actually wanted us to do when plans just don’t pan out?
I hope you see my point. It’s rationalization out of control, and we Christians tell ourselves this crap because what we really want more than anything is certainty. We want answers as to why bad things happen to good people. We want to know that there is some higher purpose to our pain.
We need assurance that somehow the shitty reality we live in is somehow not random, but under Someone’s divine control.
And if nothing else can give us those answers we crave so deeply and desperately, we will carve them ourselves onto the very image of God.
I admit, it’s intense. But I cannot stand to see people settling for conclusions that would be condemned in any other context outside of religion.
Who would ever will their child to develop cancer? Or actively try to make the hard work of a friend fail? Or kill a couple’s hope of expanding their family because a sperm happened to fertilize an egg on the wrong day?
It’s time for communities of faith to undertake a serious reevaluation of what we tell each other in the name of God and why.
Because what are we really after: to more fully know the God of love, or to avoid having to sit and face our deepest, darkest pain?