God, Job, and the Nobel Prize

The Book of JobI really enjoy reading George Weigel’s articles in the Catholic Times newspaper because he does an excellent job of giving not only his personal opinion, but he helps to sort fact from fiction, highlighting the crucible of moral reality which we must struggle with each day. In his recent article, No fighting God’s decision when to bring you home, Mr. Weigel outlines the suffering he has endured at the loss of a beloved son-in-law and his coming to terms with the will of God through the biblical book of Job.  His conclusion is much like Job’s: God is God and therefore we don’t get to know and understand everything. We must trust in God’s goodness through faith.

That experience is very similar to the ones I had when I lost my babies through miscarriage and when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and later died from complications.  God is God and we must trust in Him no matter how painful and unreasonable life seems at times.

But I don’t think that is the end of the story.  I mean, yes, of course, God is God and He gets to take people home when He sees fit, but really, do we consider our part to play in this whole human-journey-thing.  Mr. Weigel laments that his son-in-law was a brilliant young man who could possibly have won a Nobel Prize for his work on cancer.  He was that good. He should not have died.  He should have lived to make the world a better place.

But how many possible Nobel Prize winners have we aborted over the last forty years? When we lament that we have no leaders worthy of our respect – we must ask – how many have we killed in the womb because we figured they were better off dead? Ironically, the strongest and most moral leaders tend to be people who have had to over come great challenges.  By killing off the babies we fear might have a hard life – have we killed off our greatest potential?

I think Mr. Weigel makes great points that we must consider when facing suffering.  But I also believe that we must take our thinking a step farther and ask ourselves how much we have to do with our present suffering.  We may not have personally or directly caused cancer, death, and destruction, but have we, through our omissions, our weakness, have we chosen the path away from God’s answers to our prayers?