Posts Tagged ‘meaning’


By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Pope Benedict has announced his resignation.  What you may not have heard is that shortly after his announcement, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was struck twice by lighting!  Check it out:

I can’t quite decide what to make of all the speculation this has generated.  On the one hand, I think its a little sad:  the quite conservative leader of the Roman Catholic Church resigns (something that hasn’t happened since 1415) and all many people can say is “Whoa!  Lightning hit that big church!  God must be ticked!  Ha ha ha!”  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised:  jokes and mockery have replaced intelligent discourse in the world to a frightening degree.

On the other hand, I’m intrigued by how many people who have posted this video or commented on it seem to be genuinely wondering if God actually did strike the Basilica with lightning in order to display His displeasure.  That surprises me.  I mean, sure, back up a couple of hundred years and almost everyone would have assumed that this kind of thing would have signified an act of God, but the naturalistic worldview that supposedly predominates today chalks it up to the Basilica being the tallest building in Rome.  Yet even in this modern, skeptical climate there seems to be a profound desire to find meaning and significance behind things that we’re told should be written off as random natural processes.

I’m not saying God’s actually angry at the Pope for resigning.  I’m just saying it’s very interesting how many people would love that to be true…not necessarily because they’re mad at the Pope or even the Catholic Church (though I’m sure that’s true for some) but because they want God to care enough about our little corner of the cosmos to be happy or angry about what happens here.

It gets lonely out here, hurtling through the chilly dark huddled desperately around an unremarkable star.  We long to know that we’re not alone and we’ll take such assurance wherever we can find it.

Too bad we don’t look for such assurance where it can really be found:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish

but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world

but to save the world through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned..

John 3:16-18



I was talking to a woman at church today who said that she’d been asking God “why” a lot lately and didn’t feel like He was saying much of anything. I think most of us have been at that place at least once in our lives. I’ve been thinking about it a lot this afternoon, though, and at the risk of sounding a little callous, I think I know at least two reasons why God doesn’t say why all that much.

1. “Why?” is often an expression of dissatistfaction rather than a request for enlightenment. Think about when children ask “why?” Sometimes they really want to know why, but sometimes the question is just a way of expressing displeasure and of pushing back in hopes that mom or dad will change their minds. I’m not saying it’s always that way with kids or that it’s always that way when we ask God “why?” as adults, but sometimes it is. And even the best parents sometimes end up saying “because I told you so” when they understand that the question isn’t really a plea for illumination but rather an expression of mistrust.

2. “Why?” is never as good a question as “What?” One thing I’ve learned in my 20+ years walking with God is that when I stop asking God why something happened and start asking God what He is doing in something, I’m much more likely to get a clear answer. I think it’s because “what?” takes our eyes off the circumstances themselves in a way that “why?” never can.