I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a flawed and sinful man, and that my faults and sins are as great as those of others including parents, friends, relatives, etc… Yes, I too have a daughter who disowns me and won’t speak to me (and for years wouldn’t even use her last name – or made up a fictitious one), and the other children who do speak to me still harbor resentments for me not being there during their developmental years as a results of the divorce. I understand my love as a parent in spite of the child’s response toward me. But as strange and illogical as it may sound I struggle with the idea that there is a God — a universal Supreme Being, bigger than life itself — who loves me personally. That there is a God who cares for the human race as a whole is about as far as I can seem to get before I hit a mental roadblock. I have a very difficult time with the “personal” relationship part of Christianity. “For God so loved the world”, I’m OK with. That God loves me, not so much.
I do accept the fact that everything from my deformity (facial paralysis ), family and religious background, social environment — every part of my life … the good, the bad, the ugly — is God’s chosen role for me in this great play of Life. That it was LOVE (rather than chance or something else) that chose this role for me is a bit more difficult to grasp.
I was writing my Master’s thesis on the topic of Theodicy in relationship to these issues, and never finished it because half-way through I rejected my thesis, and knew if I wrote what the research and logic convinced me of, it would likely have been rejected by the seminary as an anti-Christian conclusion.
The only resolution to the conflict is to accept the presupposition of paradox … this idea that “denying” one’s self — and not just in the sense of discipline or restraint, but actually rejecting one’s worth and identity as the individual that we are, and taking on the identity and persona of another individual (Christ) whether one argues he’s real or imaginary. Clearly, this is the path that the Apostle Paul takes when he says Paul died and now it’s Christ that lives, etc…
But, even if this is the real magic trick to make it all work, one might be able to argue logically for this approach psychologically, sociologically, or on some other basis as a coping mechanism, or the way to personal freedom, etc.. But, it is impossible to justify the love of God in the face of so much suffering and personal pain, based on this paradoxical interpretation of suffering.
I wish it could be simpler for me. Sometimes I envy “simple folk” who can just accept things without having to think them through or have them make sense or conform to logic and common sense.
As I say, I don’t ask for God’s love … I just hope for His forgiveness, and hope his forgiveness will extend to everyone — even the worst of men. I know that sounds a bit like universalism, but the forgiveness of everyone would probably be the most just result given the complex circumstances of human existence.