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Death and LifeJune 20th, 2012
Last year, I had the privilege of leading a retreat for about 100 teens in Denver.
On the last evening of the retreat, I stepped out of room where Eucharistic Adoration was taking place, ran into a distraught-looking girl. Without thinking, I asked her how she was doing.
(The second I asked the question, everything inside of me answered it, “Duh, you fool. Clearly she is not doing well. Ask better questions.)
Of course she said, “Not well.”
Then, she elaborated, “My brother, he’s 10. He has a chronic illness that could kill him. I just don’t understand why this would happen. Where is God in this?”
This is a question that has passed through most of our minds at some point.
The girl’s story reminded me of the Raising of Lazarus in John 11. Upon hearing of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus responds, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
“What good has come from this illness?”
This was the only thing I could think to say to that girl. How is God using this illness to bring about good? How is he being glorified through it? These are hard questions for us to face, because they demand an honest look at our suffering, instead of giving in to the desire to run away from it.
She replied, “Well…(long pause)…my family is closer than we’ve ever been. I know it’s because we’ve had to come together in this. That’s been amazing.”
From suffering and death, comes life.
I’m reminded of the words of St. Paul, “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.” Often, this “good” in my life, doesn’t look exactly like I think it will look. It can even feel bad at the time.
Do we love God? Do we see how He is at work in our lives?
Tracing our steps back to John’s account of Lazarus, the Gospel presents us with a challenging question, and one that cannot be ignored:
Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
He is Life. In Him is Resurrection. He is working in suffering. He is alive and a Presence in our lives now.
Do you believe this? Are you willing to look?