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Hell Happens

May 21, 2012

Pain and Anguish, by Homanded. Holocaust Memorial, Miami.

The horror of this life is sometimes too great to even breathe.

Every day another tragedy. Innocents, wracked with disease, or worse, starvation. Families torn apart by fractions of a second in the pouring rain, and a child dies, just beyond reach.

Hell happens. And it happens every day.

Every day another Caring Bridge site goes up. Every day thousands kneel in prayer on behalf of someone who didn’t do anything to deserve this.

He was just a baby.
She was only six years old.
He was engaged to be married.
She was due in just two more weeks.
He never had the chance to say goodbye.
She’s leaving behind a toddler who will never know his mother. Never know the warmth of her breath on his cheek, arms wrapped around him twice.

Hell happens. And it happens every day.

We are a fallen world.

satan (de-emphasis mine) lives and breathes and roams over the earth seeking that which to destroy. Death and despair, his sidearms. He feasts on famine. Celebrates our sorrow, devouring our joy.

Cancer, Huntington’s, accidents, plane crashes, terrorism, murder, plague…they are his ploys, and his alone. He offers the wounded only bitterness. So often, so foolishly we drink – thirsting for relief, for hope.  Like a sponge filled with vinegar, it offers no balm – its acid only burning our wounds even deeper.

Hell happens.

It happened to Him. It happened one day when the sky turned black and the earth shook with the magnitude of a world’s worth of sin. He went into it full knowing – afraid, anxious even, but resolute. He walked straight into hell. For me.

For you.

He walked straight into hell and paid the price for all of us. And He walked right back out again.

Ours is a great God. A powerful God.

Greater than all satan could ever seek to do or destroy.

Yet, evil still happens. Inexplicably, that which we most fear sometimes does happen. Sometimes it’s unclear when and if God of the Angel Armies intervenes. Sometimes it’s clear as crystal, when God reaches down and stays the evil hand.

No. Not this one. Not like this. Not this time.

Little miracles, big miracles. A split second. A life preserved, a daring rescue, an illness beating the odds.

Hell happens.
But ours is a great God; His greatness magnified by our very fragility.

A baby was struck by a car. In the street, in front of the family home, in full view of and just beyond the reaching arms of his anguished parents. Enough impact to dent the fender and fling his tiny body 20 feet into a ditch. An accident of the most tragic variety.

If you’re like me, you’re sick to your stomach right now. Your mind conjuring images you wish you couldn’t see.

Hell happens.
But ours is a great God; His greatness magnified by our very fragility.

The baby lived. Despite horrific injuries to his skull, spine, and internal organs, he’s alive. He’s awake. He’s talking. His neck, while broken, is stable – not even requiring a neck brace. His skull, while fractured, remains intact. His brain, bruised, did not swell.

A myriad of injuries, each potentially fatal…but not.

Hell happens.
Not this one. Not this time. Not yet.

Sometimes God is silent, and in those moments, days and decades, I wish I could see what He sees. We beg for a “yes” and He says “no.” We beg for healing that doesn’t happen, restoration, forgiveness…and sometimes the answer is not what we want.

Despite that, I know this to be true with all my heart:

My God works together with those who love him to bring about that which is good.
Not easy.
Not perfect.
Not free from pain or suffering…

But that which is good.

He works in ways I cannot being to understand. Sometimes, looking back, I can see His fingerprints, and it all makes sense. And sometimes, I can’t, and nothing makes sense.

But I still believe that, despite what I cannot see, He is working for that which is good. 

More tomorrow…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. pastordt permalink
    May 21, 2012 8:52 pm

    Adelle – this is just wonderful writing. And such good theological thinking. Thank you. I look forward to ‘more…’

    • May 21, 2012 8:58 pm

      Thank you, Diana! At least two more posts on this topic to come…it’s just not something you can summarize in 500 words, y’know?

  2. May 21, 2012 11:31 pm

    Beautifully written Adelle! Are you sure you need “more”? So much here already. Thanks for the wondrous story of the baby—and yet, so many other times when God did not . .. . Mystery. He does not have to explain Himself, but He has told us some things. Enough to try and trust . .. What else is there?

  3. Kari Coppinger permalink
    May 22, 2012 1:14 am

    I would say “Amen” but I can see this prayer is still in formation. However, I think I can still say it and my “Amen” won’t be the closing one, but just a murmur along the way of agreement.



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