When I was a young Anglican curate a call came to visit a family who were sitting with a beautiful six year old girl who had a hideous cancer that had disfigured her face. She suffered her illness with the sweet bewilderment that so many children exhibit. The parish priest said I should make the call. “It’s part of your training.” he explained. “This sort of thing doesn’t come along often.”
So I went. The whole family was there. The grieving mother, the angry father, the sobbing grandma, the worried and bewildered siblings.
Then the father asked the big question, “Why is God allowing this to happen to my little girl?”
I just shook my head and wept with them. “I don’t know.” I said. “I’m as angry and afraid as you are. But I know one thing. God is angry and afraid too. He hates this evil as much as you do, but he will not just take it away. Some how or other he will walk with you through it. That’s what he does.”
I took the funeral a week later and the parents thanked me. The father said, “You did the best you could for us, and I realize now that the answer is there, but it is hard to find.”
I nodded, “It is the main question. It is the big question of them all, and maybe the whole point of life is to finally find the answer to that question. Maybe that’s what it is actually all about. Can you continue to search and question and search until you find the answer? Even if it takes you to your last breath and you are crossing the river yourself will you keep on trusting in the goodness of God and continue to look for the answer. If you do you will find the answer, and the answer will not be a theological or a philosophical answer.
It will be the mystery of the cross.