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The Theology of Silence

I was called to the bedside of a comatose man who had shot himself playing Russian roulette. The hospital staff received an anonymous call and found his body in his car, parked in the loading dock. He had attended my church off and on, and was struggling to kick his meth habit. Three of his family members stood at the opposite side of his bed, awaiting my arrival. In a few moments, the doctor was removing life support. The family asked why — why now, just when he’d started to get it together, why hadn’t someone seen this coming, why would God allow it? — but I had no answer.

Must we have an answer for everything?

08-Angelico-Silence.jpgLast night I sat with my son-in-law, Jacob. One of his sisters just lost her baby. It was their first, and she was in her ninth month of pregnancy. Upon noticing the baby had stopped moving, she went to the hospital where they confirmed they could not detect a heartbeat. The doctor induced labor and she delivered their child, a son. The umbilical cord was pinched. The couple sat with the baby for an hour, they held him and cried. And asked why. Jacob said he did not have an answer.

Must we always have an answer?

On the one hand, yes. After all, if we claim to know God and study His Word, then we should have answers. Right? But does sound theology always require sound? Perhaps the best answers are ones that cannot be spoken. If this is so, then tears and touch may be the most powerful, persuasive explanations we can ever offer.


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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Ame June 29, 2007, 6:03 AM


    I am so sorry for the loss of their baby. The exact same thing happened to my brother and their first baby, also a son.

    Lord, comfort these parents who have lost their son before he took his first breath. Only You can, Lord. Keep them close to You always; always close to You, Lord. As they work through their grief, may they stay close to You and not turn from You, Lord. Keep them close to You … and close to each other. Thank You for the tears and arms of those who love them … of Mike and his family. I love You, Lord, Ame

  • Suzan Robertson June 29, 2007, 3:17 PM

    I’m sorry about the baby. The same thing happened to me, Mike.

    No we don’t always need an answer. That’s the hard part. The trust and faith.

    I’ll be praying.

  • Trish July 1, 2007, 5:21 PM

    Hey Mike, I agree we don’t always have an answer, although we think we may need an answer to everything. This past week was really hard for me and my family. Our cute, adorable pug puppy drowned in our pool, while we just stepped away for a minute; and my mom’s best friend’s daughter committed suicide all on the same day… And I asked why would something like this happen. I guess sometimes things in life will never make sense, but we just need to have faith in God.

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