God isn’t in the perfection business

Photo by Jake weirick

Before bed the other night (it’s amazing how many fascinating and terrifying conversations take place before bed), Rory was talking about people who are born stuck together — conjoined twins. She mentioned how hard it must be for them to walk. “It’s sad that God would make them that way,” she said with zero apprehension.

I truly think we ask all the hard questions about life and the divine when we’re five before our parents scare us into submission due to their anxiousness.

I sat with her inquiry for a moment. Because she was right. How could we call God a loving one if people are going through such misery? I can’t imagine what these conjoined twins have to go through just to get through each day — and night.

“You’re right. It is sad that God creates them that way.” I just left it at that. But then, as I do, I strained and obsessed about that little conversation for three days as she likely totally forgot about it. Here’s where my reflection got me…

It’s easy to think of God as solely the God of humans. Especially as Christians. It’s like nothing ever existed until Jesus was born (well, maybe a few thousand years before that, riiiight?). But as Fr. Richard Rohr recently wrote…

The first Incarnation of God did not happen in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. That is just the moment when it became human and personal, and many people began to take divine embodiment as a serious possibility. The initial Incarnation actually happened around 14 billion years ago with “The Big Bang.” That is what we now call the moment when God decided to materialize and self-expose, at least in this universe.

Seeing God as the creator of all creation, we see a much larger picture.

Since the dawn of physical creation, how many plants, leaves, flowers, and trees have shriveled up and died before they reached their fullness of stature? How many rivers have dried up? How many floods and tsunamis have laid waste to plants and animals with zero notice? How many galaxies have crashed into and obliterated each other? How many stars have burned themselves out before reaching their apex? Just one look at a National Geographic special about the safari will reveal how cruel life can seem to be.

But I don’t know if God has ever been in the perfection business. I think perfection is a human construct — an impossible expectation that we hold life to.

I don’t know if God has ever been in the perfection business. I think perfection is a human construct — an impossible expectation that we hold life to.

And so, I don’t really know how to reconcile it. I’m not sure if anything was ever meant to fit the illusory human construct of perfection (which changes from person to person and from season to season).

Perhaps, if we release our grasp on perfection, we can cease trying to get life to fit in that impossible box and instead hold all of it with deep reverence. Because it truly is a miracle that I’m breathing. And you’re breathing. And we can even wonder about this.


This post was begotten and made over at JonasEllison.com.