No matter what, it seems like ISIS is on the front page of every newspaper and on every news program. The heinous crime they commit arouse anger and rage in me and, of course, in many others. Every time I hear of a hostage being beheaded, I seem to read that they were wonderful, decent, compassionate individuals with talents that could change the world. Yet, they are murdered before they have a chance. If you are me, you are reminded of Albert Camus and the theater of the absurd. After all, when you look at someone like Kayla Mueller, a young, Christian aid worker, who has given her life to service and caring for others but dies senselessly and randomly, imprisoned by the very people she wanted to help, you feel like you are caught with feelings of an absurd and senseless world.
Before I say another word about this, I have to tell you that I was most impressed by one of Kayla’s letters to her parents. She writes, “I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator because literally there is no one else but God and by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison one can be free.”
To me, those are brave and, more than that, inspiring words from a young girl in her twenties, hanging on to hope, but only to die. Why should good people have to die like this? It makes our world tilt along with our beliefs and values and our optimism for a better world. I don’t want to lead you on, so let’s start with the fact that I don’t have a good answer for this. Neither does Christianity. We don’t know why there is evil in the world; such evil that would steal our children from us in heinous acts of abuse, violence and murder. Also remembers, that this is only one person that the Western world is looking at, but there are rivers of tears flowing from countless parents who are residents of Syria and Iraq, Jordan and Nigeria, and other places.
Our only answer as Christians is the crucified God who dies being tortured, hanging on a cross, repeating the words from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some would say that this is not much to hang your hat on. While I believe there is no good answer to evil and the suffering of human beings, our faith offers a response, and that is reconstructed life – put differently, life that can grow out of the ashes of despair. Some may say redeemed life. In all cases, it is love’s response to the hatred that is found in this world.
So, as Christians we go on in the name of our Lord, cradled in freefall, still trying to witness to that light that will break in to the darkness of this sad and tearful world.