God in the Dock

It is not being a good and devout believer to always gloss over the difficult things like the sudden death of a child. God is bigger than our doubts and negative feelings…



I heard about the death of a fine young man.

Seventeen years young, bright, full of promise.

Church going, socially committed, well liked.

Died suddenly a few days before Christmas…


I find myself thinking: I hope the priest

Who takes the requiem mass will not spout

Pious platitudes, nor ooze unctuous balm,

Failing to touch the rawness all about.


When all are asking why, if not numb

With grief. Why? Oh why did he die?

If nothing else, what a chance to connect,

To touch their pain and refuse to deny?


To voice their agony, their despairing cries,

Their doubt, and even to speak their rage.

Rage against the all-powerful, all-loving

One, who seems so reluctant to engage.


The case for the prosecution mounts:

Let the accused stand in the dock!

What blasphemy is this? Who are we

To call the shepherd to face His flock?


Yet call we should, and call we must.

He who is the Truth would want it so.

We may not get answers to the charge,

But, flesh and blood, we need to know.


Just what part of Your master plan Lord

Is served by the untimely death of one,

Who clearly said yes to love and life?

How do You profit by such an outcome?


Collusion has no place in Christian life;

It’s a feeble faith that fudges feelings;

Worse still to see grief as a divine dose:

What dad would dole out such ‘healings’?


You bring all things together for our good;

You see far beyond what we can ever view;

Your thoughts and schemes are way above;

Yet, like Jesus, we feel abandoned by You.


Speak Lord, Your children are weeping:

Or will You maintain a haughty silence,

As when Pilate held death over Your Son?

Will You ever get off that damn fence?


Do You hear our anger and our pain?

Your children desolate in Your sight.

That young man’s little sister’s heart:

What comfort for that innocent mite?


Don’t caress us with pious massage.

Keep Your vicars from spouting rot.

Are we to keep trusting Abraham-like,

With scarcely any hint of life’s plot?


Four thousand babies die each day,

From pneumonia alone – not Your choice?

Maybe… but do You stand aside, aloof,

Demanding hosannas, that we should voice?


For the good times we thank You Lord.

Must we also affirm You for the bad?

Do we wonder why the scoffers sense

A holy crutch, refusing to be had?


A winter storm is blowing as I write.

Are You angry with me for such cheek?

Yet I mind that You are smiling now:

Reasons to be vexed, seasons to be meek.


I pose a question: whither would I go?

Go, Lord? You hold both life and hope.

We must rage and rant, or dear Jesus,

How on earth do we begin to cope?


As in any other relationship, honesty

Is at the core. Fear of God doesn’t imply

That we maintain a false reverence,

In hope of gaining that ‘sweet by and by’.


You rarely seem to answer us Lord:

In Your time, in Your way, no doubt.

But at times it’s so very hard Lord,

We need to question, we need to shout.


Another family devastated this Christmas;

There is no santa to make them smile.

Friends, tears, sympathy and prayers;

But healing?  Not for the longest while.