I saw it in His eyes last weekend

I went to a play last weekend, one for which I had no idea what to expect. The title and the characters were Biblical, from the Old Testament. The story is very-well known, but this author didn’t take the conventional route in bringing the audience on a journey back thousands of years.

To some, the play may have seemed irreverent or even sacrilegious. But knowing the playwright personally, I know what his thought process is, and that is to make others think, and not just absorb.

During the play God makes Himself heard and seen to the antagonists and protagonists, although His identity is not immediately detected. He took on the guise of a traveler, Whom a character graciously takes in.

The character doesn’t believe in God, and “The Traveler” eventually engages him in conversation about the Almighty.

The doubting character tells The Traveler he doesn’t believe in God because of all the suffering going on in the world. He doesn’t understand how sacrificing a lamb, or goat, or bird can bring atonement for one’s sins, especially sins he didn’t commit. He asks why God would want people to destroy parts of a world God created.

He asks why God would create beings who only suffer in their lifetimes.

The Traveler listens intently, compassionately, and sympathetically. He tells his host that people suffer partly because they have a mind of their own — they make choices that are not always for their own good.

The Traveler even admits to his friend, whose eyes are now opening to Who his guest truly is, that maybe He made a mistake giving mankind the ability to make choices.

I interpreted that as meaning God loves us so much that He does not want to see us suffer, but in essence, because man has the ability to make choices, there is nothing He can really do about the consequences.

I know there are some out there that will view that as sacrilege, but seeing the performance live in a small, intimate theatre brought to life what the written word couldn’t.

“God” was literally within arm’s reach of me. I studied His face and body language throughout the play. God came alive for me in that actor; in the dialogue; in His countenance.

The final scene was an incredibly powerful and moving few moments. A tragic death occurs and the character who befriended The Traveler holds the dying person in his arms and pleads with Him to save the victim.

The pleas were heartfelt, sob-filled lamentations to God — for Him to step in and prevent what only God could prevent.

God was right on my side during the final scene. He watched with compassion and sorrow as the moments unfolded. He didn’t say a word in response.

I was brought to tears by the cries for mercy that went unheeded. I, too, have asked God for help, and still do, when in dire straits, only to feel that He is not listening. I live what was playing out before me.

Then I looked into God’s eyes. They were tear-filled. God was heart-broken that what was happening couldn’t be undone, no matter how much He wished it could be.

That’s when it struck me. God’s eyes are tear-filled when my cries for mercy, for peace, for “just a little break,” seem to go unheeded. It struck me that God does not want to see us suffer. I’ve heard that a million times, but it took the tears in an actor’s eyes to open up mine.

I left that theater still not knowing why God allows suffering and pain and death. I left that theater with my own problems still front and center. But I left that theater remembering that God loves us and feels our pain and knows our weaknesses and understands our fears.

I’ve mentioned before in prior columns of my love-hate relationship with the Almighty. How I do get angry with Him, not only for my woes, but for those of the whole world. I’ve also mentioned that I have apologized for my bursts of anger as many times as they’ve occurred.

A priest friend once told me that if you’re angry with God, it only means that you have a relationship with Him.

I don’t like suffering. I don’t like to suffer; I don’t like to see loved ones suffer; I don’t like to see people I don’t love suffer. But, along with death and taxes, suffering is a way of life for us all.

But there is comfort knowing that God feels the very same way. I know He does. I saw it in His eyes last weekend.

davejolivet@anchornews.org

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