Against the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack of Nilu’s Are You With Me, in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy Season 14, April Kepner – the only doctor in Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital who is a Bible-believing Christian – could be heard saying the following words:
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabaachthani?”
That’s what Jesus said on the cross before He died.
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
Job asked the question too. But he kept the faith.
And what did he get for it?
Replacement children. PTSD.
Was it worth it, to have been a faithful servant?
Or would it have been better to just curse God’s name from the beginning?
Where was God throughout all of Job’s suffering and pain?
He was winning a bet with Satan.
Makes you wonder where He is through all of the unfairness and inequity and cruelty in the world.
Where is He now?
This monologue that ended the episode proved even more profound for me because, minutes before I watched it, I’d just been talking to my dad. He had caught me in an unguarded moment of depression, where I was hiding away in the gloom of my bedroom, the shadows which matched the darkness that was breeding inside me, and he began talking to me. as a father who had noticed his son’s increasing detachment from God, he expectedly and earnestly talked about how the answer to all the pain I was feeling lied with God. He said Jesus was the answer, painted a glowing picture of how all I needed to do was draw close to God and watch everything fall into place.
He is my father. He is Christian. He is supposed to say these things. I understood.
But with each word of religious platitude that fell from my father’s mouth, my resentment grew. The darkness in me churned with an emerging anger. Questions coiled like tight balls of emotions inside me, pushing, agitating to shoot from my mouth like bullets. I didn’t want to disrespect my father, so I swallowed them, feeling them roll back down like bile. Settling at the pit of my mind. Unresolved. Unyielding.
Why does God have to wait for His children to draw close to Him before He relieves them of their pain? Why does it feel like He is seated smugly somewhere, like some emotionally-manipulative overlord, watching us fail and flounder, unyielding in His resolve to not help until – well, we realise the only way forward is to be totally dependent on Him? Why does it delight Him to only show His grace to those who run themselves ragged beseeching Him – and even then, very sparingly? Why, in all His omnipotence, does He even permit the pain and suffering that riddle humanity, the cruelty that is aimed at those who just want to get on with their lives?
Why does He let these things happen?
Where is He when these things are happening?
Where is He now?
Written by Walter Ude