One way to be near my daughter while she does homework and not interfere is to do crossword puzzles. I’ve learned an important lesson from these puzzles: keep working at it until the solution makes sense. When I leave something in that doesn’t quite work, it is most often wrong.
Many grieved this week because a man was put to death for a crime that some say he didn’t commit. Others began to grieve 22 years ago when an off duty policeman with a one year old daughter and an infant son confronted someone who had pistol whipped a homeless man in a fast food parking lot , and was shot in the face and heart. Compassionate people of every stripe mourn, cry out for justice, pray. Things don’t
make sense to any of them. Still, they fight on—trying to find answers in a world that often has few to offer.
How different they are from my daughter’s classmate I’m working with in math. When I ask her to explain something as simple as rounding numbers back to me, she speaks
nonsense, as if she’s given up on ever being able to understand. My first job is to get her to fight again, to believe that she can and deserves to understand. She can find the right answers.
Jesus fought. Jesus fought against the legalism of the Scribes and the Pharisees. He fought against the buying and selling in the temple. He fought for the right to
heal another no matter the day. These things didn’t make sense. He sought a solution.
The cross is an ugly answer. It is the result of what we Christians believe was a choice Jesus made to allow God to enter the fight–a choice based in his deep understanding of
God’s will. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks about how it is necessary for him to die and, after three days, rise again. He repeats this three times as if he understood the whole plan. Yet, in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he waits for the soldiers to take him, he still looks for another way. “Take this cup away from me.” Jesus keeps on fighting until
that final moment of understanding that God has a way forward, that moment when he says, “not my will but yours.”
We are most alive when we are fighting for a solution. Sometimes that puts us on opposite sides of political and religious debate. So be it. Keep on fighting. But don’t give up on God. Sometimes God has an unexpected solution that brings life. Our loving creator has a
way of seeing outside of the box. For those who keep fighting to understand, keep on fighting to hear God’s word, more will be revealed.