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The Absence of God

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Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures

The air was unusually cold for November. My nose was running and my eyes were watering. Nevertheless, I wanted to kiss her goodbye. I knocked on the back window. I could see her sitting in her chair. Slowly, she moved toward the sliding glass door. Eventually, we got it open. I gave her a hug and kissed her on the cheek. When we briefly saw some bad news on the television, my grandmother declared, “We’re living in the end times.” We went outside and I kissed her goodbye. That was the last time I ever saw her alive. A few weeks later, my grandmother died in her favorite chair. Though it’s been two years, I still miss her. In her absence, I still feel the absence of God.

 

Yesterday, hundreds gathered in Uyo, Nigeria for the consecration of Akan Weeks at Reigners Bible Church International. People were excited for the chance to commune together. Not long after the church started, the metal church collapsed. Over 160 people died. As bodies stuck out from the rubble, God was absent.

 

Yesterday, people gathered in Cairo, Egypt to worship at a chapel connected to St. Mark’s Cathedral. Mostly women and children squeezed in. In the midst of prayer, a bomb exploded. Bodies were littered throughout the building. In total, 25 people died. As blood flowed from the pews, God was absent.

 

Yesterday, people traveled to the stadium in Istanbul, Turkey to watch a football game. The announcers pumped up the crowd. Cheers went up for each team. The beauty of sport was shattered when a car bomb exploded outside the stadium. A short time later, a suicide bomber detonated. 38 people died in the attacks. As people were torn apart, God was absent.

 

In all of these tragedies, God was absent. I believe my grandmother was right. We are living in the end times. We must declare the end of a benevolent God that is interested in our welfare. Judging from these tragedies, God has left us. God is absent from our pain. Perhaps in the end, God will find us again.

 

Amen.

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