I've been following the story of a young couple, married only a few months, who are living out the meaning of the phrase "for better or for worse . . . in sickness and in health."
The husband suffered a severe brain injury several weeks ago. His wife has been at his side ever since.
Originally, the brain injury was described as "devastating". I had expected to hear of this man's death . . . and yet, as time has gone on, I hear reports of his improvement.
His wife keeps people updated regularly on Facebook. She's regularly assured by her social media friends that they are praying for her, and she's often complimented on her "strength and faith". And it's true. The faith of this young woman, and her inner strength, shines through in her postings.
But I wonder, as I read her posts, and as I read the comments of people on social media . . . has anyone told her that it's okay to scream?
Has she been told so often, "You're so strong," "I admire your faith," "God is taking care of you and your husband," "We're believing God for a miracle," that she may not feel like she has the right to scream, "Why me? Why us? Why now? Why, God? Why did you allow this to happen?"
Do we, in our desire to encourage those going through difficult, almost incomprehensible times, squelch those who feel the need to scream, to cry out, "Why?", to demand an answer from God?
And when they do break, when they do scream, what do we do in return? Do we chastise them for not having "enough faith"? Do we criticize their attitude? Do we react like Job's "friends" and accuse them of sinning when they demand an explanation from God?
Job screamed before God. From the second chapter of the book of Job, up until the the time God spoke to him out of the storm, you hear a dialogue between him, his friends, and the unseen other listener, God. You hear a demand for an explanation, an insistence that "I have not sinned, I have done nothing wrong."
Paul, in the book of 2 Corinthians, spoke of being "under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure." (So much for the interpretation of I Corinthians 10:13 as meaning, "God won't give you more than you can bear." Paul and his companions DID suffer more than they could bear!)
David, and other Psalmists, screamed in their Psalms, "God, I cry out to you, but you do not listen."
Jeremiah demanded to know why the way of the wicked prospered.
Even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, told his disciples that his soul was overwhelmed to the point of death. He did not want to die. He was willing to do it, for our sakes, but he did not want to die.
Why should we put a burden on others--to remain "so strong", to remain faithful, to not ask questions--when there are those in the Bible who did break, who did ask questions . . . and who God did not condemn for doing so?
If the young woman is reading this, and no one else has told her, I will tell her:
It's okay to scream.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.