What if I NEVER see a reason for my confusion, waiting, regret, and hopelessness? Is that okay? It better be.
Go ahead, solve the senselessness of stuff like 9-11
The Friday after 9-11, all the Clear Channel-owned radio station morning shows in Austin, TX gathered in one large room. It was a show of unity, to broadcast one morning show on all the company stations in town. One morning show on six radio stations with six different formats for six different audiences. Each station’s morning team would be heard on all the other stations, too. I worked for the country music station.
We did it as a community service response to 9-11. No music was played for several hours. Each morning show had a chance to share their thoughts and take questions from callers. Most of the personalities loved it.
I hated it; not my comfort zone, the other air talents intimidated me, and the audience was big and scary (weird for a radio personality, eh?).
The answer for others
I prayed about what to say if I had the chance. I hated the idea of blabbering on with some inane opinion that didn’t mean anything. The only thing I could think of was the idea I heard somewhere of the image of a quilt. From the top, the quilt looks orderly and beautiful. From underneath all you see is a tangle of chaos. From the bottom you’d think this mess could never make sense. I thought about the quilt and 9-11.
The moderator for the show was a casual friend in our building. He knew I was a believer. When the show started, he looked right at me and his very first question on this broadcast to the largest radio audience I will ever have was, “Gary, you’re a man of faith, how does all this make sense to you? Where is God in all this?”
At that moment, I realized what an out-of-body experience felt like. I could not believe he was asking me this question, the only one I had prepared for.
I told the quilt story. I said God sees the top side of the quilt and from above it’s a different view that I can’t have right now, but that I trust his view. (I wish I had added, “and one day you can have that view too.”)
It was the only thing I said the entire morning.
The answer for you
I hate the quilt. I hate simplistic explanations of complex things. It’s helpful on a radio broadcast, or to get everyone’s head nodding yes in a class. But you don’t sit down with a friend struggling with a tragedy or loss and say, “I know you’re struggling to understand, but really it’s like a quilt . . .”
It’s easy to talk about the quilt idea when it’s not something that touches me. But when I get my own personal 9-11 or Newtown or Boston Marathon finish line, then an idea of a quilt is not enough. I need reasons and understanding to get through the pain and confusion.
But I often don’t get any reasons. And so the quilt is not something I use for someone else. The quilt is for me (and you) personally.
Thus the challenge that must be faced alone: Is it enough for me to know there are answers I don’t get to see? Can I let God be really big and me be really small?
How big is God compared to me? Whatever the difference; that might be the difference I can expect between what I can understand and what I can’t.
So, what would you pick?
* * * *
The Everything Fits affirmation:
3) to further his own awesome, immeasurable aims that are bigger than my ability to understand.
Therefore, whether it’s past, present, or future, I can have confidence and peace that somehow, someway, Everything Fits Even When It Doesn’t, and I will trust and cooperate with God in the fitting.