I recently watched an episode of the television show The West Wing in which President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, deals with the God of his understanding in a way that may shock some of you. Take a moment to watch it.
Talk about anger with God! The old-time Catholic inside of me kept waiting for President Bartlett to get struck by lightning.
And yet I found myself resonating to that anger. I have heard all the explanations for senseless suffering. Christian ones. Jewish ones. Buddhist ones. I grew up in a home in which senseless suffering was faced with stoicism and resignation. I’ve heard others invoke concepts ranging from “It’s God’s will” to “It’s your attachments.” Maybe some of those explanations are correct. Maybe they are not. All that I know is that the God of my understanding feels more real to me when I am arguing with Him/Her. I am also aware that I at times step away from my rage out of fear. Perhaps the God of my understanding really will punish me for raging. Perhaps those well-meaning persons were right when they told me I shouldn’t question God.
And so I come to the conclusion that it takes courage to rage at God the way President Bartlett does. I’m also reminded of the scene in Forrest Gump when the character Lt. Dan lets loose his rage over what happened to him in the war:
I also am coming to the conclusion that it is only through facing that rage that I can find peace and have a true relationship with the God of my understanding.
Do I have the courage?
Reflection: How do you view the rages of President Bartlett or Lt. Dan? Sinful? Courageous? Something else? What are your experiences?