“Why does God allow a loveless marriage?” was the question.
Right there the moment became sacred. I was afraid to exhale. Today’s world of technology allows for a congregation to text in their questions live at a church service and the pastor answers them on the spot. This then was one of the questions. From the depths of a large church, a drowning soul wept through a cell phone.
Why does God allow a loveless marriage? All around this question lay broken pieces of pain, rejection, inadequacy, failure and condemnation. The human species is created for relationship – we are simply hardwired that way. To be without it requires a ripping out of our innards and have our lifeblood pump into a void. We are created for relationship. So I held my breath when the text question popped onto the screen and the pastor started to answer.
How well I understand the unspeakable pain of a broken relationship. I quietly looked around me and all the faces were intent on the answer – broken people living in a broken world, each one with a broken relationship somewhere. In the maze of daily life decisions, one decision leads to another and then to another. We turn each corner hoping to find an opening in the maze tunnel so that we can continue our journey to that allusive center. Then one day we turn that corner and we find a dead end. Nowhere to go. The end is dead. Yet, like the final reflexes of a severed limb, dead relationships still have life to hurt; every nerve ending running amok. When we eventually can no longer run we silently sit at the dead end of the maze.
Or … we send a text message to our pastor.
Therein is the beginning of our salvation. Reaching out to another, no matter how small a step, is embracing our humanity – this hardwired ‘us’ that needs to connect to others. In the reaching out to another we become a part of the circuit of connection. It is exactly here that we experience the power of God’s grace. This grace that never comes to a dead end. This grace that is a balm for the pain. This grace that is a splint for the broken. This grace that sometimes hurts more in the healing process but ultimately breaks us to heal us. This grace that wants only to take us by the hand and lead us out of the maze and into an open field where Christ is the center. Where finding Him is easy and pure and sacred.
By accepting his grace – this grace where there is no condemnation, this grace that turns our judgment into compassion, this grace that causes our fists to uncurl and our hands to open – by accepting this grace, we see the other as sacred and we touch gently.
The question is not why God allows a loveless marriage, or parent-child-sibling-friend broken relationship. The question is why we allow it.
God is love. He is the center, the lifeblood, the very essence of love. As we touch this grace and hold it and embrace it and cling to it, the circuit is restored and we become like him. Through the act of loving, one moment, one heartbeat, one small act at a time, we become the love.
Then, as circuits are want to do, it returns to where it began and we find that we too are loved. Dead relationships are then resurrected to life through the power of grace.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:17