Here’s a big word, anthropopathism. It’s ascribing human characteristics to a deity. Or in other words, thinking of God as having human emotions and feelings.
At 5:00 A.M.
It was early in the morning when the thought popped into my head.
I was in the hospital room with my wife, who was asleep following an emergency C-section in the attempt to save our son. It didn’t.
It was a horrible night, lonely, sleepless, and deeply painful. But as the rays of the new morning began to rise, I thought, “Is this how God felt when he lost his son.”
Does God Weep?
I don’t know. But from Psalm 30:5:
“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
The Father gave us emotions, and he made us to weep. We are made in his image and that’s not likely a reference to our physicality, but just the same, God made us the way he did. He sent Jesus to be with us, and Jesus wept.
In The Days That Followed
I would struggle for a while with my emotions. I became angry with God for not doing more to comfort us. I struggled with praying and wondered why I didn’t feel comforted by the prayers and encouragement of others.
But in the dawn of that new day, I was immersed in a moment with the Father. For just a moment, we were the same; we had lost a son. And I was comforted by God’s presence.
There’s No Comparison
I can’t imagine losing an older child or an adult child, and I know we shouldn’t compare our pain to that of others. My son never saw the light of day. After the surgery I hugged him and held his infant hands. He seemed normal, like he was asleep. I kept thinking he would wake up and open his eyes.
Our Good Friend Job
Job lost everything, including his children. He said something in the 3rd chapter that leapt off the page as I was reading him later that day:
“Why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?”
That verse resonated with me on two levels: (1) that infants were stillborn more than 3,000 years ago, that my pain wasn’t unique. (2) that it might have been better to have never lived than to live and suffer such terrible pain.
Did the Father weep? Did he cry when the rough-hewn spikes were hammered? Did tears flow at the scourging? Or when Jesus died? Maybe the Father began weeping when the mob began crying for Jesus to be crucified. Did the Father mourn?
I have since mourned the loss of a parent, a brother, and of family and friends. There isn’t anything more painful, more devastating, than living when someone we love isn’t living with us.
Does it help to say, “God knows, he understands?” It does. It may not help in every moment; it may not assuage our pain or diminish our loneliness. But it helps.
I’ll write one more thought to bring this series to a close.
Looking back, If I had a choice, I would choose to go through gut-wrenching grief with the Father at my side than to choose to go through it without him.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust God, trust also in me.”
God Bless You