I know the pat answers. I know them so well, I could say them in my sleep.
God knows what He's doing. He has a plan. He allows humans free will and choice - otherwise we'd be robots. He loves us so much that he allows us to choose not to follow Him.
Sometimes though, I want to throw the pat answers in front of the bus. Friday, yesterday, I wanted to scream, throw things, rebel. "God!" I yelled. "The kids! Why couldn't you have stopped the gunman before he shot the kids?"
I know full well that God was able to. He could have reached His hand into that school, plucked the gun from Adam Lanza's hands, thrown it out the window, and while He was at it, knocked a bit of sense into the guy's head.
In the terror and anxiety and turmoil of those moments and over the next eternity of hours, I didn't want to hear the pat answers. I watched my five year old daughter and felt every pang of each parent as they waited for news of their own little one. I read the tributes written about the kids, how one girl in particular loved to color. I watched my own daughter at her little worktable doing what she loves best, coloring a picture of an armadillo in bright rainbow colors. The sight blurred behind a curtain of tears.
The words are gone. As a writer, that's some shaky, scary ground. I don't know what to say, and the pat answers sound hollow in my own ears.
All I know is that even when the worst doubts flood me, when in rebellion, I scream my questions to the sky and wait for heaven to strike me down, God is still there and He still loves me through it. No matter how many tantrums I throw, even whispered denials of my deeply-rooted faith, the facts don't change. God... is... God.
And when the tantrums are over, my emotions completely exhausted, the tears spent, the peace flows. I know that I know that I know that God is working, even when I can't see it and even when it makes no sense to me.
The thing about all those children that day - they were innocent. Trusting. Untainted by the world and its cynicism. Gathered into their Father's hands for an eternity of peace.
I can lay my agenda aside and seek the innocence of the very young. And in that innocence, place my hand in God's and trust Him to take me where He wants me to go.
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."