My Underneath Thoughts and Groanings

April 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

IMG_2473It’s Earth Day. And I’m groaning.

And it seems as if the earth is groaning too.

Oh, not on the outside where my life goes on as it usually does, where tragedy has not come to my door. Here the apple trees are showing off pink and white blossoms, Easter has been celebrated with gusto, and the garden is pushing up the first green of onions, radishes, beets and potatoes .

But, underneath, underneath, the default position of my thoughts shifts to those 41 lost, the bodies in the mud of the Washington State Oso landslide, not far from my island home. Those bleak March days afterwards—a month ago today—when the rain was still pouring and I was warm and comfortable in my house, my mind would shift to the grandmother, the baby, the working man, the small children, lost in the cold mud and insurmountable piles of debris. Although I sat as close to the comforting steady heat of the woodstove, it was as if I couldn’t get warm enough when there were those who would never be warm again … on this earth.

The Bible says, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time,” (Romans 8:22 NIV).

And it feels right now as if there is more reason to groan than ever.

The current triad of tragedies began on March 8th with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with its 227 passengers and 12 Malaysian crew. The unbearable uncertainty, the drowned hopes, the grief with no resolution, the groaning.

When the South Korean ferry “Sewol” sank on April 19, 2014 near Jindo, south of Seoul, Korea it was as if the previous two disasters were combined into something unthinkable, unimaginable and utterly devastating. Some 476 passengers had boarded the ferry, most of them teenagers, 250 of them from one high school in Ansan, Korea. To date, there are 121 confirmed dead, with 181 missing. As rescue has turned to recovery, the numbers of dead will go up exponentially. It is a stunning loss; and I grieve.

It is Earth Day, and the earth is groaning. Darkness and death seem ever present.

The cover story of April 28th’s issue of  Time is “Finding God in the Dark” and features Barbara Brown Taylor.  Author of the article, Elizabeth Dias, writes that Taylor says, ” … contemporary spirituality is too feel-good that darkness holds more lessons than light and that contrary to what many of us have long believed, it is sometimes in the bleakest void that God is nearest.”

“In the bleakest void … God is nearest.” I remember the words of Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”

The earth is his. He knows. He understands our darkness. His heart is touched with our grief, our groaning. He is near.

The hope that seems so out of reach in times of great tragedy, but is nevertheless actual and real, is there will come a day, when this earth has worn out like a garment when there will be a new earth, a new heaven. When death that touches all of us here on earth, will be done away with. When there will be no more darkness or grief.

But, not yet; we wait. The rest of Romans 8:22 says, “ … [We] groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies.”

There will come a day.

copyright 2014  Inger Logelin

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