Reading in Genesis I again have little sympathy for Jacob. What a weak person that is, good grief. And what strikes me again is that as a human being I immediately feel a judgment over the whole situation, even tho I don’t read that back in the text. Nowhere it says that Jacob should have stood up against this heinous act of his daughter’s rape. Nowhere I read that the way her brothers responded by slaughtering a whole village over this is a bit over the top.
Where is God in all this?
Is He in the heartfelt whisper that heard while reading this story, in which I almost relive things that have happened to me, violence that left wounds everywhere, decaying into scars that act like braille, not leaving dots, but dashes, long and deep dashes, that I can run my finger over, when closing my eyes, finding myself in memory? Moments when God did not intervene in the actual situation, but where He did let me know in my heart, regardless of the time or day when I wanted to shout about injustice and pain, that ‘this is not okay’.
those lively throbbing convictions,
they point me radically
to His existence.
How could I have known that something was not OK if there was no standard of OK? The philosopher C.S. Lewis once said: A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.
So I can only call rape wrong, and be sincerely and vitally indignant that a father lets this happen, when I internally know that there must be a bigger plan somewhere, where retribution will (have to) take place.
Perhaps it is exactly the seemingly absence of God that makes Him so visible. To see Him in the chaos of my previous days in which I really didn’t know left from right any more. Hellish horror in which I cried out ‘this is no life, this way’, in which I -get thee behind me satan – almost started to believe that it would be better if I didn’t live anymore. God is exactly RIGHT THERE to be found in that darkness. Right there. Just at moments when I cry out.
My words are the marking poles alongside of the road, markers that light upwards when you pass ’em, that point me directly to Him. Not forward, but up, to His existence.
In moments of chaos I feel Him, can I finnaly say that? I am way past the idea that I can write down my top 20 of bad days in life. Yesterday was definitely the umpteenth, it was – at least that’s how it feels – a living hell, unbearable, really un bear able.
And what did I do? I turned to and burried myself in earthly things, from 9 AM till 4 PM, psychiatrists, 911, all kinds of mental health aid agencies, calling, chatting, whatsapping, international zoom-meetings,… until at 4PM I’m at the GP’s, hopelessly thinking that this will NEVER be okay, this chaos-me, I’m ripe for the asylum, and if he would please register me for a clinical admission, please put me in solitary confinement, inject me till I can’t see straight any more, I can’t take it anymore. I am a basket case, please just throw me in the river, as his mom did with Moses. But with me, I don’t think I am meant for survival. Spare the basket.
And then it was a nonchristian man – my general practitioner – who reflected six years of working relationship back to me, as if it was my heavenly Father, Jesus perhaps, who spoke to him, and therefore directly to me: Pota, My dearest, I will never forsake you, you are My beloved, I see you, I see what you are going through and I am with you, I am with you, darling, hang in there, all things work together for good, trust Me, a clinical admission is not going to help you, neither is medication, you know that by now and I am glad that deep down you have come to see that as well, how does your faith help you in all of this? ‘
I snap back to the now and I hear the voice of my doctor: ‘How does your faith help you in all of this?’ I shake my head and feel ashamed. It doesn’t. ‘Why not?’ he asks. Because I don’t see God, I say. I don’t hear Him, I don’t see Him, I have to assume that He is there, but I need more than that.
I went home and called it a day. Stepped into a horrid night with strong dreams. Woke up not feeling much better. Dared to read Genesis again, and allowed myself to feel what it is to not like someone (Jacob), and try to teach myself that those feelings are okay. But for me it feels like musical dissonance, as I taste God’s presence folding itself around my antipathy. It’s as if God says: ‘Yes, what Jacob did was reprehensible, but I still love him, and vengeance is Mine, I will repay. Jacob makes mistakes, Pota, Jacob is not perfect, Pota, just like you, and I love you too. One day I will open your closed books too, and add a last page to them.’