Categories
Faith Grief

Where Words Fail

Attempting to make sense of the senseless.

I don’t really know how to begin talking about this. It’s a very unnatural feeling, to be simultaneously heartbroken and utterly confused beyond belief at the same time. I think a lot of folks are feeling that way regarding the tragic passing of Richard Logan, his wife Diana and their son Aaron.

In the air hang a million questions all without answers. Like so many taunting mosquitoes that just refuse to buzz off.

By all accounts, Richard was a good man. His life was marked by compassion and service to others. He took great joy in drawing near to the weak, the helpless, the needy. Whether it was troubled youth in need of a father figure, or poor Ugandans in need of clean water and a roof over their head, Richard was there helping.

In many ways, Richard was drawn to those God is most drawn too.

Richard was my youth pastor. I went on two service trips to Mexico that he led. When I graduated high school, while others gifted money (which I appreciated), he gifted me the devotional My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. In college, he offered me a summer internship focusing on local missions. We took a trip to Guatemala that summer together with the organization Living Water. I remember sharing a hotel room, and him telling me how he missed his family, even during such a short time away.

To me, there was never anything even remotely off about Richard, which makes the current situation even more confusing. He loved God and he loved people, plain and simple. That much was evident.

What we are forced to come to grips with now is that clearly there was another side of Richard that none (or very few) of us knew about. As someone who has struggled with depression and mental illness myself, evidently that played a heavy role in his life, as it does for many who are outwardly successful. I only wish he had the opportunity and the courage to open up about it before such devastating consequences could be felt.

What is even more disturbing and perplexing is that Richard was clearly a man who God used to accomplish His purposes. When we see the favor of God in someone’s life, we automatically perceive that person to be good and right, and perhaps even a better person than we are ourselves.

This is a fatal mistake in human judgement, but one that is easily understandable. As Romans teaches, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Apart from Christ, both Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler are on equal footing before God.

Another flaw in our reasoning is that we often equate good works to be synonymous with a good person. But as Isaiah reveals, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.

Again, Jesus teaches in Matthew regarding the final judgment, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

So what are we to make of a supposed righteous man who has allegedly committed the most abhorrent of evil? Frankly, we may be dismayed, saddened and tragically speechless, but a proper understanding of the human condition should not leave us completely caught off guard. As a good friend counseled me recently, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” 

We do not like to think of ourselves capable of horrible atrocities; of unimaginable evil, something so vile and twisted it causes us to squirm and shudder inside. Only the rapists, murderers and genocidal maniacs are capable of such things, we tell ourselves.

But yet, this is exactly what was perpetrated to Christ on the Cross on our behalf. And He endured it. Silently.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

    yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he opened not his mouth.”

Isaiah 53:7

Regardless of the magnitude of the sin we commit on earth, it is all wicked and detestable in God’s eyes. He cannot tolerate even the slightest whiff of sin in His presence, which is why Jesus was sent to earth to accomplish our collective reconciliation to the Father.

I do not presume to know or judge exactly what transpired in the Logan household earlier this week. I am merely attempting to explain and understand how such an act could even possibly occur, given our assumptions and what we knew about Richard. The only way I know how to do this is by reading and interpreting the Word of God.

I am praying for Ambrielle Logan, and for each and every life that has been affected through this horrible tragedy. I am asking the Holy Spirit to comfort and to counsel those who are hurting and those who are confused.

What I can be certain of is that God reigns supreme and sovereign over every human act committed on earth. May we look longingly forward to the return of Christ and the ushering in of the new heaven and the new earth so vividly foretold in Revelation:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

May that new and glorious reality come quickly, Father.

2 replies on “Where Words Fail”

Although I’m obviously late to it, I’m glad I read this. I’m glad you wrote this! I didn’t know these folks, but I was stupefied by the story from the second I read it, a few years back.

I don’t know Ambrielle, but I hope she’s finding some way to persevere. My brain legitimately can’t process that level of grief. Man has always and will always struggle to comprehend God and the things that happen here on Earth under his watchful eye. It’s never going to make any sense, and I’m starting to come to grips with the freedom that comes when you just stop trying to, “figure it out”.

P.S. do some more writing when the mood strikes you.

Like

Thanks Tim! Glad you enjoyed it. I am trying to carve out more time to do some long form writing these days. It’s a grind, like anything else, but worth it once you get to a finished product you can be proud of. Thanks for the encouragement to keep writing.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s