Around a year ago I read Adrian Warnock's book Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything. This past Holy Week I picked up the book again to review a chapter as I prepared my heart for Easter Sunday. Inside the front cover, I had scribbled this statement:
Is God only worthy of my worship when He conforms to my expectations for how He should act? If I don't have a God who can contradict my wisdom/intentions, then I'm worshiping a figment of my imagination.
As I re-read that note inside the book, I recalled the circumstances in which I had written it: about a week or two prior, my mom had experienced a catastrophic infection that ravaged her body and has left her in a semi-vegetative condition, confined to a bed in a nursing home, for the past 13 months. With that little statement tucked inside a book on the resurrection, I was preaching to myself.
The same week that I re-read my reflection, I read Ben Witherington's article in the most recent issue of Christianity titled, What Good Grief Looks Like When a Daughter Dies. His daughter, Christy, died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 32. In the article, Witherington writes of how he walked the way of grace in the midst of his grief.
I'm going to take a few blog posts to interact in particular with one portion of the article, which disturbed me personally because of its view of God and His role in this tragedy. From what I can gather in the article, it seems as though Witherington would disagree with the note I wrote to myself last April, or at least what that note was assuming. For my own reflection and grappling, I am going to interact with Witherington a little bit, since I have tasted at least a measure of this grief in seeing what has happened to my mom over the past year.
But this post is getting long enough. Tomorrow I'll post the portion of the article that I feel compelled to interact with.