I don’t fault those who find it difficult to believe in God due to tragic events, particularly those that tend to smack of the Divine having a sick sense of humor:
Dennis Byrd, a former Jets defensive lineman best known for battling back from a serious spinal injury and recovering to walk again, has died at the age of 50. Byrd was killed in a car crash in Claremore, Oklahoma, today.
According to Fox 23, Byrd was driving down the highway when his vehicle was struck head on by another vehicle, which had crossed the center line. A 12-year-old passenger in Byrd’s vehicle was hospitalized, as was the 17-year-old boy driving the vehicle that hit Byrd’s vehicle. Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second-round draft pick of the Jets in 1989, Byrd played four NFL seasons before suffering a serious neck injury in a collision with a teammate. Byrd was paralyzed and his career was over, but after lengthy physical therapy he was able to walk again. At the Jets’ home opener in 1993, Byrd walked to the middle of the field to represent his team in the pregame coin toss, and there he was given the team’s Most Inspirational Player Award, which is now known as the Dennis Byrd Award.
In the 1980s, Depeche Mode wrote what may be the greatest philosophical lyric ever written in pop music.
I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor
And when I die
I expect to find Him laughing
As an indifferent agnostic, that fairly well described my religious perspective before I became a Christian. But that is why it is so important to understand the correct application of the Problem of Evil, and to grasp what it means for the world to be fallen, why it is necessary for Christians to be in the world, but not of it, and why the Word became flesh and died on the Cross.
Depeche Mode was right, in a sense, though it is not God who has the sick and sadistic sense of humor, but the Prince of this world. Neither God nor Jesus Christ rule over the Silent Planet, and they are not the architects of human misfortune.
I do, however, contra Umberto Eco, firmly believe that God possesses a sense of humor. I have sensed it. And one cannot read the New Testament without recognizing that Jesus was almost brutally sarcastic.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.