Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Tale of Two Brothers

I've been reading about Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel... two questions I'm wrestling with:
1 - Why in the world would God create Cain with a propensity for a rebellious, evil heart?
2 - Would I still love God if one of my children ends up like Cain, killing his brother and turning from God?

A quick synopsis: Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain, a farmer, and Abel, a herdsman. God rejects Cain's sacrifice of a portion of his crops, and accepts Abel's sacrifice of some of his best flock. Cain is so overcome with anger he kills Abel. Then even though God shows both punishment and mercy to Cain, his descendents continued in his ungodly character.

So I return to my questions... the 1st I really don't expect to answer, as men have been wrestling with this for centuries. Though it does baffle me that God would create us with the ability to turn away from Him. And what baffles me most, I guess, is that Cain is the son of two God-fearing parents! Ugh.
The 2nd question, however, hits home a little harder - is my faith pure enough, deep enough to continue in my love for and trust in God if one of my children is not only distant from God, but evil in his actions?

I have two heartbreaking examples in my life to draw from. One, a family whose young son committed murder and is now serving many years in prison. Did I mention heartbreaking? Because they are close friends and we have known this family for years, I can say with confidence that no one saw this coming. And his parents and sisters struggle. Yet their faith is deep, and they continue to choose to trust God. The second is a gentleman I met at Mt. Hermon this spring, whose son killed not only his own brother, but his mother as well. So this man, 4 years into grieving the deaths of his wife and teenage son, and dealing with the incarceration of his older son, radiates joy. The joy of Christ. I have no idea how, but I have seen it with my own eyes.

I think of Corrie Ten Boom in the Hiding Place, and her description of not being able to comprehend God's grace until we're in the place of desperation where we need it. I believe that. I find some solace knowing that I don't need God's grace right now for something that may or may not take place years from now. But I sense an urgency to consider the possibilities (and I'm even an optimist!) to somehow be more prepared. I don't know how I would respond to God. I imagine with much anger and disillusionment, but I believe He would give me the grace to trust Him.

Bottom line... I think this account from Genesis creates an awareness in me for learning to let go of my children... to realize that their salvation is not an extension of mine and my husband's, and that they will ultimately make their own choices. Something tells me this whole "letting go" thing will happen many times. Here we go...