I used to think that when I grow up, I’ll have answers to big questions. I’ll know how to be, how to say the right things, have good answers. Now I’m coming to see that answers aren’t as important as faith. And faith, it seems, is ok with questions.
Faith means being relaxed about the reality that some questions don’t have answers. Faith means asking questions and not demanding answers. Faith means taking the next step that is only dim but has enough light so as to keep me from losing my footing.
These days, when I ask God hard, big questions, He doesn’t shed much light on them. He doesn’t explain everything. He only keeps telling me that He’s with me and everything is going to be ok. Faith is at ease with darkness and questions, not with answers, as I’d thought.
My friends buried their third baby yesterday, a boy this time. It doesn’t matter that they already have five beautiful girls. It helps that they are surrounded with loving friends, but it doesn’t take the pain away. The questions of loss and wasted pain and empty arms don’t have any answers. Not in this era of reality. There is a deeper reality, which is where faith rests. Meanwhile, we hold hands and cry and ask for miracles. Faith believes in miracles, and there are no small miracles. Each one is amazing. Maybe the biggest miracle of all is that He, Immanuel, is with us.
Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear, and not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear an infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be! Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care, hear the woes that infants bear –
And not sit beside the nest, pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near, weeping tear on infant’s tear?
And not sit both night and day, wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be! Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all: He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe, He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh, and thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear, and thy Maker is not near.
O! He gives to us His joy, that our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone He doth sit by us and moan.
(“On Another’s Sorrow” by William Blake)