A young man, Michael Sharp , who was working for peace in Congo, was kidnapped and murdered last month. He had worked for Mennonite Central Committee for a few years, and at the time of his death was working with the United Nations. His work was to try and lessen the violence in the war-torn country. He was a young man trying to a positive difference in the world.
And God did not keep him safe. Many people are talking about how great a person Michael had been in his short life. People from all over the world have said very nice things about him. And, in his death, there might be some positive changes in that area of the world. Most people recognize the senselessness of his death.
“ I hope you show up God. Why did you not save the young life of this peacemaker ? I know there are all kinds of tragedies in this world. I do not think you showed up in Syria a few days ago either.”
“ I believe you are a just and compassionate God. You cry with us as we experience such pain in our lives. Maybe I should not pray for health and safety anymore. I am disappointed many times, and have felt your divine absence in the life of Michael Sharp.
“. Your son cried out on the cross that you had forgotten him. So I am not alone in my distress. The writer of the Psalms was the same way. It is okay to be angry at you.
I know my anger extends beyond Michael to what might yet happen. Our daughter Hannah serves for a human rights organization in Colombia. She walks beside people who are threatened with death. Steven her co-workers are careful but there are dangers. So, it seems to me I am preparing to be angry at God just in case. The death of Michael Sharp allows me to believe this kind of thinking. Many people have asked me how the death of Michael has affected me .
Maybe I should only pray that I might be faithful, and not for my daughter’s safety or the safety for all of us. But Jesus said in the last week of his life that we should and expect God to answer with a big “Yes !”. In the case of Michael Sharp his parents received a big “No” to their prayers.
How have you prayed in the midst of great disappointments ? I understand in Vietnamese culture there is the saying that “ Life is difficult “. It assumes that there will be problems. In Canadian culture , and Christian thinking, we assume and believe that things should always go well for us.
Michael Sharp’s death says something different to me. This is part of life. Death is part of life. Yet, we want more of it for all of those whom we love.
I am praying to trust more, but I am still waiting for God.