When God Was An Atheist


At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) - Mark 15:33-34

I've been kind of weepy the past couple of days.  

I got choked up after I watched the American Idol audition video and the short bio of a young woman who teaches special needs kids.  

Then there was a song about the Resurrection that just spoke to me and I listened to it over and over again, wiping tears away the whole time. 

I even got a little emotional when I was standing outside this morning, breathing in the cool morning air on this first day of Spring.  

I have been flummoxed by this bout of emotional behavior.  It's not all that encouraging when you walk around with a low-grade sense that you may fall apart at any moment.  

And then it hit me.  

This is my first Easter without my mom in the world.  

Because of this sad fact, I have been feeling a little raw lately.  

And it's probably not a coincidence that I've been reading a lot about how, through Jesus, God showed up in human form and mixed it up with us--suffering, sorrowing, lamenting, being betrayed and left by loved ones. 

This knowledge means more to me than I ever thought it would.  

I've also been overwhelmed with the thought of God (Jesus) hanging on the Cross experiencing doubt and the loss of God, and how this is so much more important to me than ever before.  I hold on to this thought with desperate relief.  

The great theologian G.K. Chesterton once wrote: 
"...let the atheists themselves choose a god.  They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist."  
I take such comfort in knowing that God has intimate, earthy knowledge of that sense of loss and doubt.  God gets this about us.  And we can't underestimate the power of that knowledge, or the comfort it can bring to us in the midst of our own loss.  

And it's this comfort that sustains me as I defiantly place my hope in the impossible:   God raising what was dead to new and glorious life.  

It's true that my emotions are raw and jagged.  I may have a few more tears to shed over this, I am certain.  

But I have defiant hope in the Resurrecting God who lives in the center of our broken hearts, filling in the broken places with a strong love, stronger hope and with new and eternal life.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.    


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