“I cannot describe the ghastliness of this experience!One must see the…bodies…to know the horror…They were my friends. I had been speaking to them only an hour before. Something says within me: ‘This is not the person you talked to an hour ago. He is not here. He is in Heaven.’ But that, I submit, is an easy way out. That is just a way of softening my hurt. And I certainly will not say, ‘This is the will of God.’ That is one explanation no one will ever hear me say.” – James Good Brown, chaplain in the 8th Air Force during WW2, describing the aftermath of an aeroplane crash
During the course of everyday life, it’s tempting to express our acceptance of disappointment…a broken windshield, or a broken dream, as God’s Will.
Indeed, many will tell us that it’s God’s way of bringing us closer to Him, putting us through ordeals. But usually we’re thinking of minor ordeals.
What Rev. Brown describes is simply beyond the scope of most people’s imagining. He’s talking about the flaming terror of a crashing machine, and the agony of being trapped, still perhaps conscious…and burning alive.
And he’s talking about his own pain, something that can never be erased, seeing boys…for these airmen were rarely beyond their late teens and very early twenties…these boys whose souls and hopes were in his temporal care, seeing them turned to…something he forbore to describe.
How does a man keep his faith?
The answer, i think, is in the acceptance that God’s Grace, not His Will, is operative here. He willed a world in which our free will had to exist, to make us fit citizens of eternity, and when free will was included, so were the horrors, and so was the agony.
But while He weeps for our pain, His Tears become our Grace.
Our saving Grace.
If you have a moment, won’t you visit my other blog, Blessed Are The Pure of Heart?