Daily Riches: Beyond the God of the Gaps (James Martin and John MacMurray)

“Fear not; the things you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.” John MacMurray

“As I grew older, the model of God as the Great Problem Solver collapsed — primarily because God didn’t seem interested in solving all of my problems. …My lukewarm agnosticism …coalesced when my freshman-year roommate was killed in an automobile accident during our senior year. Brad was one of my closest friends, and his death was almost too much to bear. At Brad’s funeral …surrounded by Brad’s shattered family and my grieving friends, [I] thought about the absurdity of believing in a God who could allow this. By the end of the service I had decided not to believe in a God who would act so cruelly.  …Why believe in a God who either couldn’t or wouldn’t prevent suffering? …Jacque had lived in the same dorm with Brad and me during freshman year. Though wildly different from Brad in outlook and in interests, the two became close. After an accounting class one day …I told Jacque how angry I was at God, and how I decided that I would no longer go to church. My comments were flung at her like a challenge. ‘You’re the believer … explain this.’ ‘Well,’ she said softly, ‘I’ve been thanking God for Brad’s life.’ I can still remember … having my breath taken away by her answer. Rather than arguing about suffering, she was telling me that there were other ways to relate to God, ways other than as the Great Problem Solver. …her words reminded me that the question of suffering … is not the only question to ask about God. …that you can still live with the question of suffering and believe in God — much as a child can trust a parent even when he doesn’t fully understand all of the parent’s ways. …Not until I entered the Jesuits did I begin hearing about a different kind of God — a God who was with you in your suffering, a God who took a personal interest in your life, even if you didn’t feel that all your problems were solved — that things started to make some sense. … it helped me understand the importance of being in a relationship with God, even during difficult times.” James Martin

“Take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
Jesus in John 16:33

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you still relate to God as “the God of the gaps?”
  • Must your questions be answered before you can trust God?
  • Do you know the God who is “with you in your suffering?”

Abba, help me take my rightful place before you and in your world.

For More: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin


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