Why I Don’t Understand God


I don’t understand God.

I can almost, almost, sympathize with the atheist. How can it be that some of us live in a world of fun, while others live in a world of fear?

How can it be that I can jump on board my little wooden boat, and sail out across the lake to enjoy a picnic while others jump on board a refugee boat to escape being beheaded?

david Rowing

Daniel Etter/The New York Times

Daniel Ettter/The New York Times

How can it be that in my backpack there’s coffee, and chocolate biscuits, and a big fat subway sandwich, while in his backpack there’s only lemons for sea-sickness and a green laser pen, because if in the dead of night, he is bobbing around in the waves, he wants passing ships to be able to find him?

How can it be that I can take pictures of lily pads and sailboats and sunshine on waves while others try to cling to their children in the dark waters of the Mediterranean sea because their overcrowded boat capsized?

How can it be that my grandson can play on the beach with his bucket and spade, while the lifeless body of Aylan lies on the sand, and he’ll never play again?

brix in water

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

I don’t understand God.

I don’t understand why I was born in England, and Aylan was born in Syria. I used to think I was blessed….I used to say I was blessed. But if I am blessed by being born where I was, what does that mean for Aylan or his brother, who drowned beside him, or his mama whose body was found washed up, or their father, who is left to wrestle with what just happened and the decision he made to rescue his family from ISIS and let the cold sea claim their lives instead? Are they blessed too?

My sister told me once, We are as much trapped in our world as they are in theirs.

But I am NOT helpless. And shame on me if I cannot crawl out of my cocoon of affluence to sign every petition, and weep for that boy, and give what I can to help.

And pray.

Because I DO believe in God.

I just don’t understand him.

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8 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Understand God

  1. Ann Cavera

    Dear Glenys,
    Thanks for a very thought-provoking response to something that is affecting all of us. I, too, believe in God though I cannot understand. I, too, want to do something, however small to stop the evil that seems to grow more monstrous with every innocent life it takes. I’ve come to believe it will be stopped not be great powers, but by all of us with little power when we join our prayers and hearts and actions in saying “Enough! This must not go on another moment.”


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