“How can we just sit here, eating popcorn and entertain ourselves by watching people get beat up?” This was my question as we watched the new “Ben Hur” movie.
It isn’t that I never watch movies. Nor is it that I haven’t seen brutality portrayed in them before.
For some reason, on this night it struck me as a huge disconnect.
I remember being a child in the 60’s and watching television as the war in Vietnam was raging. Every night, when my parents would turn on the news, we would see the horrors of the conflict, often as we were eating the evening meal.
How ironic that the pleasure of eating would be combined with the sorrows of the reality of life. Whether fictitious or not, we have to admit that suffering is not enjoyable and eating is.
So how is it that we mix the two? Are we just sick or what?
What about me? How do I post happy facebook thoughts and terrible news reports or sad prayer requests in the span of 15 minutes all the while sipping a comforting cup of coffee? Talk about the great disconnect!
When the past month has consisted of burying a friend who died of cancer, experiencing the loss of my first grandchild, seeing videos of people in Aleppo crying out for help as their city is overtaken and many other various tragedies in the world, it seems almost sinful to allow myself to enjoy anything without feeling somewhat shallow.
It brings me to wonder, how does the all knowing, ever present God do this? How does he hurt with the hurting, have compassion on the suffering and yet rejoice with those who are rejoicing?
How does his presence shine joy in the delivery room when the much anticipated baby is born and at the same time grieve with the family who lost the baby in the room down the hall?
How does the God who sees everything simultaneously, manage to be appropriate in each and every setting?
I wonder if it is because He is the God of hope. He is the God of love. He is the God of Romans 8:28. He is the God who knows that nothing is impossible for Him and no matter how bad it gets, he can salvage it?
He feels our pain, he weeps with us, yet he has defeated death and suffering once and for all. The same Jesus who wept with the people when Lazarus died, knew that he would raise him from the dead.
Could it be that my view, this side of heaven, is very limited, while his is not?
He sees the bad in life but never through the lens of hopelessness or despair. Death and suffering is the result of the fallen state of mankind, yet he came to raise and resurrect.
He cries with us in our suffering yet rescues us in His life.
I love that when my pastor husband calls our church to the Lord’s supper, he reminds us that the last time Christ partook of it with believers was right before he was to suffer on the cross. However, the next time we take it with Christ, we will all be together in eternity at that great banquet table.
The only thing missing then, will be the sorrow.
Until then we eat, sometimes with tears but never without hope.