Do I hear you saying,
“What’s going on here? Why me?”
The answer’s simple: You’re guilty,
Your guilt has your life endangered,
your guilt has you writhing in pain. Jeremiah 13:22 (MSG)
I’m reminded this morning of being a child, sent to my room because my dad caught me swearing. It was summer. It wasn’t even 8:00 p.m. yet and the sun would be shining bright for another hour or more. Out of my upstairs bedroom window I could hear the sounds of the neighborhood kids continuing the game of kick-the-can from which I was pulled to serve my bedroom interment.
“It’s not fair,” my preadolescent brain wanted to argue. But my reasoning couldn’t make it very far. I said the “G.D.” word. There was no getting around it. Arguing that dad misunderstood what I said would be an exercise in futility. His hearing wasn’t that bad.
My brain continued to spin. I wanted to blame my brothers. They were the ones who taught me those words. They swore all the time (and never got caught). But, I knew that argument would go nowhere. Dad was judge, jury and executioner. He wouldn’t buy it. “It still doesn’t excuse you saying it,” I heard his voice saying in my brain.
I had to face the facts. I was stuck in my room, and it was my own “g.d.” fault.
Like children cloaked in adults bodies, I still find myself and others clinging to “why me?” sorrows while wallowing in the muck of our own making. We drive like demons on wintery roads and grieve the tickets and body shop bills. We ignore relational pains and then wonder why the relationship broke apart. We eat too much, sit in front of the television, and despair when our clothes don’t fit.
There are times when tragedy strikes without warning and wreaks havoc on life in unjust ways. However, like a child confined to his room and trying unsuccessfully to spin a plausible defense, I have to confess that much life pain is simply the consequences of my own making.