The pause before the pain
“If God knew all of this would happen why didn’t he just… not start it all.”
That’s the question I hear from so many campers over the years. It’s a good question. It’s often hard to put the theology into words.
I often feel this way when I do weddings.
I often feel like there’s a moment, a glimpse between the I do’s and the signing of the legal documents… a powerful pause between the promise and the paper when I think about the pain. I think to myself, “If they knew what they were getting into would they still do this? If they knew the fights, or the brokenness. If they knew the betrayals or the lies, or the selfishness or the miscommunications would they still sign this?”
I hope they do… because after the signatures, after the covenant comes the joy, the fulfillments, the partnership. Besides all the darkness there is a great deal of light. The laughter, the memories, the stories, the knowing looks and the inside jokes. After the recessional comes crossing the threshold and becoming one. Becoming one household, one bank account and the building of one life, lived by two individuals who love each other.
I often feel this way when I meet with new parents. I remember being so excited about my kids. I didn’t think for a second of the pain, or sleeplessness, or money spent, or feeling as though I was disappointing them.
I didn’t think about the fights, or frustrations, or the trauma of a broken marriage.
I remember being scared, really scared about being a good dad.
I hope that couples with kids don’t spend too long dwelling on that pause before the pain. I hope they don’t think too hard about the pain, or the fear or the tension. I hope they still decide to have those kids because if they don’t they will miss out on the proud moments, the silly moments, the moments covered in baby oil and diapers. They will miss out on the miracle of little minds grasping math, or reading or making friends.
They will miss out on those kids excelling in sports, or the arts, or school. They will miss out on watching those kids make their way in the world and become adults. They will miss out on the moments when those kids find a life partner and say their own I do’s and sign legal documents.
When we dwell too long in the pause before the pain we miss out on so much of the pleasure that life has for us.
That’s how I think God felt at the beginning of creation when the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit paused… before Genesis 1:1.
I believe God did know. I believe he saw far, far into the future the contents of Revelation 21 and chose for himself to begin. I have to believe that although he saw all the carnage of sin, fallenness and depravity that the beauty and hope of a new heaven and a new earth where the dwelling place of man is with God for eternity was so much more.
So much more than the brokenness, so much more than the weight of sin, so much more than the giving of His own son for the sake of a world that had turned away from him.
In the pause before the pain God saw purpose and persevered.