Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
“Do you hear God?”
That’s what I asked an old professor at the seminary. He was a little different from the rest of the professors. He had a sort of edge that I hadn’t seen. Some days, he acted in a way I had imagined a Fool for Christ would act, loud and offensive at the worst times. Whenever he walked into a room, you knew things just got more interesting. Yet, this Old Testament professor had a depth of knowledge reserved for genius.
He didn’t hear me, so I said it again. “Do you hear God?”
“What?! Hear God?! If we could hear God, we wouldn’t need the prophets!”
I remember this when I come across people asking why God allows things to happen to people…or worse yet, when I hear people explain why God allows things to take place. This has happened several times since a dear friend of mine found cancer in her body. It showed up like a weed. Like a blade of grass that grows in a crack of a driveway, it forged its way into her body.
Cancer. There, I wrote it again.
It’s so hard to say. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for her, but she says it all the time, like she is trying to convince herself that it’s there. I hear people making excuses for it, desperately searching for a silver lining. Maybe it’s because of this… Maybe it’s a result of that… Maybe it’s so that God could…
The doctors don’t know why she has cancer. They need to ask about the “whys” and “hows” so they can have solid research and establish a pattern among their patients, and prescribe a treatment plan. I wish everyone else would stop asking “why.” I don’t think it’s appropriate or healthy. It’s more along the lines of the Orthodox mindset, or as the Greeks say, phronema, to leave the “Why” to God. But we can’t. We are Americans who live in a “purpose driven” mindset, and we have to know why so we can make sense of it all. As if once we understand it, it is justified and the “boo boo” disappears; as if it were kissed and made all better. The mistake we make is, we act like prophets speaking on God’s behalf, as we try to make sense of it all.
But as my dear professor said, God talks to prophets, and we aren’t prophets. Honestly, I don’t think we could understand the answer if He were to tell us. It would be similar to answering a child who asks why the sky is blue. Sure, there is an answer, but are they ready to understand the science? I dare you to tell a child that “The sun’s rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere, where the light is scattered by nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the air. The blue wavelength of this light is affected more than the red and green wavelengths, causing the surrounding air to appear blue.” (I did a Google search.) Say that and watch the expression on their face, if they are even still standing there. Sure, they were curious, but can they handle the explanation?
We can’t be like children forever. Consider the Apostle Paul who wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And what happens as we mature? What happens after we are no longer children, but mature servants of God? Imagine a military officer ordering a subordinate to do something or go somewhere, and the soldier stopping to ask, “why.” I am referring to the Centurion in the Gospel of Matthew, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Are we not called to be the servant of God? When God give us a struggle or a calling, it isn’t our place to ask, “why.”
But let the Virgin Mary be our example. When she was placed in a situation that seemed impossible, although she asked “how,” she didn’t ask “why.” Instead, she said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
Please keep my friend, Jenny, in your prayers as she responds to cancer. May we always have the courage to say, “Let it be to me according to Your will.” And resist the temptation to wonder why.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+