Now one of my fears about the Youth Conference we attended last weekend was that the sermons would be of complete disinterest to me. I thought because of my unbelief I would no longer be interested in anything the preachers or pastor had to say. But that was not what happened. I actually listened to every message and sermon with much attentiveness. I don’t know why, but I think that it was in the hope, that God might reveal something through the message, that might restore my faith. But that moment never came.
Half way through the day. There was a very emotional message that took place with an altar call. They played a video about a kid named Dustin Bueller, and you could feel the emotion in the 400-500 seat auditorium just grow. You could feel your heart grow heavy with sorrow as you watched this video of his testimony. The goosebumps on everybody’s arm; and the tears welling up in the eyes of some in the crowd. It was a story of a kid, who lost his best friend to cancer, then developed his own tumorous cancer in his brain. Fully recovered even in spite of his prognosis, that he may not be able fully walk, or memory loss or partial paralysis. And that through all of this and both trials of battling cancer and losing his friend he never lost faith and still choose to trust god.
The emotions were so strong; I was starting to get drawn into the amazing story of faith and courage. I was even starting to think to myself, wow it’s amazing how God brought him through all of this.
But then the second part of his testimony started, and so did my mindset on the story.
The second part was a story I was vaguely familiar with. It was a story of a Pastor’s Daughter who was shot at church accidentally and died. I read it a few months earlier in the newspaper, and I knew a few Christian colleagues who had mentioned the story to me, but nothing more than that. And then I realized, -that this is not a story to the awesome testament of God. It does not glorify God in any way. Granted it does draw an emotional appeal, but the illogical senseless suffering on this young man’s life all before the age of 20 in No way brings Glory to God.
And if it does, that is kind of sick.
I can understand the purpose of the message and the video, that God has a plan for us, even if we don’t understand it. And that we should still glorify god even in the face of our own suffering, but then it hit me. Why should I give God Glory if he can’t do something for me? What purpose does God serve, if he can’t do anything? Why should I worship this Judeo-Christian God, if he allows unimaginable suffering in my life, and then says to me, it’s all part of a plan you can never understand and that I won’t be able to reveal to you?
In reflection, this great emotional story and video, just became a tragic, sad, and senseless suffering video that nobody in the room could explain beyond the words, “God has plan for you, even if it we don’t understand it or don’t like it.”