A number of years ago, I sat glued to my television as two stories of human tragedy were unfolded during a morning chat show. A woman recounted how her child was murdered and described the personal devastation that followed. Twenty years later, she was increasingly consumed with anger and bitterness and forced to rely on sleeping tablets.
i completely agree…faith isn’t simply a rigid decision to stick to a set of beliefs, no matter what…it’s an unseen, but keenly felt, sense of a connection to the divine that’s completely real to the person who has it…and this personal presence of god in our lives is what we will need to survive the time of trouble, which may really happen in our life-time, we just can’t know…gordon wilson’s wonderful example shows that an overwhelming test of our faith can come at any time…
If God were to just slay Job without reason that our human understanding could see, in our human minds it wouldn’t seem just. But Job had so much faith, that he said even if God did do that, he would trust in Him. What faith!! And this part you quoted, has the same message, at least I see it that way.
This article talks about the Father, but does not address the Mother’s issues in resolving whatever she had to resolve in the same incident of the death of HER Daughter.
It is interesting how a large number of articles similar to this event, where we have 2 parents of the same child, most articles ONLY tell the story of the one parent, and not both as to how they resolved the issue of unfairness at the death of a child in such a horrible manner.
How do you think Potiphar’s wife reacted when Joseph became #2 in Egypt?
Do you think Joseph just let her be in anxiety for a few days? Did he go to Potiphar or send anyone to let her know that she wouldn’t be on the receiving end of payback?
Bingo. (as the British would say). Caught. (might be the more American phrase?)
I think this essay resonates with many (it certainly does with me), as it addresses emotions and actions that are quite relevant. Perhaps not primarily because of this week’s Sabbath school lesson, but because of the roller coaster we all have gone through the last few weeks. If the essay is applied to the lesson with its story of Daniel and friends… you might get some very interesting discussion. If you just read it for yourself… a little reflexive prayer might be quite healing.
Thank you, Gavin Anthony, for weaving together a number of highly important things without even explicitly mentioning them.
What did you say to the Sinn Fein folks? How did you handle the situation of being the protestant pastor in the catholic town in a way that had integrity and authenticity to you, your church, to your community?
When was God personally present and how? What does it mean…“kept their faith burning”?
How does faith pop up and make itself public?
Would a person on the street or unchurched person understand any of this without explanation/translation?
Do most Christians speak and write a religious lingo that seems to isolate themselves from those who don’t understand their language?
Think of how many religious expressions and clichés are mentioned constantly that most people in your associations/area have no clue as to the meaning.
ie: "We are saved by the blood of the Lamb"
How many non churched even have a clue as to its meaning or significance?
Is that sentence even valid, correct, true to those who understand religious lingo??
In an interview with the BBC, Wilson described with anguish his last conversation with his daughter and his feelings toward her killers: “She held my hand tightly, and gripped me as hard as she could. She said, ‘Daddy, I love you very much.’ Those were her exact words to me, and those were the last words I ever heard her say.” To the astonishment of listeners, Wilson went on to add, “But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She’s dead. She’s in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night.” From The Third Side by William Ury, 1999
In doing some quick research on the web I found out a bit more in this amazing revelation of grace. Joan, his wife, worked with her husband for reconciliation. Both were Methodists, devastated by their daughter’s death, but refused to let bitterness and a spirit of revenge into their lives. Mr. Wilson even met those who planned the bombing and apologized, but when Mr. Wilson asked them to stop the violence they refused. Mr. Wilson died in 1995 at the age of 69 a few months after his son, David, died in a tragic accident. Predictable, but Mr. Wilson received both acclaim and condemnation for his forgiving/reconciliation work.
Here is my last post on this powerful story, and is a larger unedited version of the BBC interview that launched him into prominace:
We were both thrown forward, rubble and stones and whatever in and around and over us and under us. I was aware of a pain in my right shoulder. I shouted to Marie was she all right and she said yes, she found my hand and said, “Is that your hand, dad?” Now remember we were under six foot of rubble. I said “Are you all right?” and she said yes, but she was shouting in between. Three of four times I asked her, and she always said yes, she was all right. When I asked her the fifth time, “Are you all right, Marie?” she said, “Daddy, I love you very much.” Those were the last words she spoke to me. She still held my hand quite firmly and I kept shouting at her, “Marie, are you all right?” but there wasn’t a reply. We were there about five minutes. Someone came and pulled me out. I said, “I’m all right but for God’s sake my daughter is lying right beside me and I don’t think she is too well.” She’s dead. She didn’t die there. She died later. The hospital was magnificent, truly impressive, and our friends have been great, but I miss my daughter, and we shall miss her but I bear no ill will, I bear no grudge. She was a great wee lassie, she loved her profession. She was a pet and she’s dead. She’s in heaven, and we’ll meet again.
Don’t ask me please for a purpose. I don’t have a purpose. I don’t have an answer, but I know there has to be a plan. If I didn’t think that, I would commit suicide. It’s part of a greater plan, and God is good. And we shall meet again.
I have lost my daughter, and we shall miss her. But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life.*
You make a great point. It should be written in a way that an outsider can understand it’s basic meaning and such religious lingo, should be left out, unless it is explained. Thank you for pointing that out, it’ll help me too, when I start writing.