In the last week I have worried and prayed and followed the news of Irish student Karen Buckley’s disappearance in Glasgow. As a father I tried to imagine the pain that her parents and family were going through. The discovery of her body fulfilled our worst fears. As a pastor I asked what comfort and care could I possibly bring to her parents in their devastating grief.
As I continued to ask God to prove that Jesus was right when he called the Holy Spirit a comforter this poem came into my mind. I wrote it a number of years ago when we lost our dear friend Lindsay Emerson to cancer. Lindsay was around the same age as Karen and we as Christians were left wrestling with why such a tragedy could happen and where was God in it all.
The last lines of my poem were influenced by a television interview with novelist Lionel Shriver at the time of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. She spoke about a “sovereignty of evil”. It made some sense to me. We try to explain these dark tragedies when they are a mystery and beyond the rational abilities of our finite minds. Shriver was saying that evil is transcendent and beyond our control. For me, as a Christian, God is Sovereign too and as a result also beyond the most acute genius of humanity’s best explanations.
That is what I was trying to rhyme in this poem. I read this at Lindsay’s funeral. I post with continued prayers for the Buckley family…
CAUGHT BETWEEN THE MYSTERY
We come with faith
But the theology don’t rhyme
We come with hope
But we are all out of time
We come with reason to believe
But reason isn’t what it was
We come with words that fail us
But Jesus never does
Faces stained with the love we cherished
Our heart broken into a million pieces
It’s the hardest thing you can ever do
Give your love into the arms of Jesus
And I know today that Lindsay is singing
But it don’t make this anymore right
To be caught between the mystery of darkness
And the mystery of God’s good light.