Friday, May 23, 2008

The End of Suffering? (Warning: contains graphic images)

A few months ago, Camille came home in the afternoon after school, claiming that she had seen a dead bear on the side of the highway. Although I have seen plenty of bears in my life - and they are quite common in these parts - I had never seen a dead one beside the road. For some reason, I just thought bears were too smart to get hit by a car I guess! So I drove the same route later in the day, and didn't see any such thing. Thus, I concluded that she was having hallucinations.

Well, I got a call from Camille this morning as I was in the middle of my devotions, saying, "I am not sure, but I think I just saw a dead bear cub." She was a lot more hesitant this time to make such a bold proclamation, so she made sure I knew she was unsure. But she asked me to go check it out for myself, since it was only a few minutes from our house along the highway. Skeptical, I hopped into my car, got onto the highway, and slowly drove southbound. She told me that it was just a few hundred feet after you got onto the highway.

As I drove, I saw the tiny body of a dead animal. When I saw it, I immediately thought it was a black cat, or some other small animal. Since it was facing the other direction, though, I had to look back at it to see its face and, I had to admit, the face looked an awfully lot like a bear. So I called Camille and told her that she could be right, but I needed to circle around again to have a better look.

After getting off at the next exit, and driving back to the spot, I pulled over after the dead body, got out of my car, and approached the small carcass. Sure enough, it was a small cub that had been hit by a car. I couldn't believe my eyes. Never before had I seen a cub this small - and, perhaps, maybe it's the first time I'd ever seen a cub at all. And, to be sure, it was the first time I'd seen a dead bear, period. So I took a picture on my cell phone and sent it to Camille, as well as my sister and mother.

Camille was happy, but sad, to know that she was vindicated. And it is, indeed, a sad reality of this world's falleness. As Paul writes, "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (Romans 8:22). Because of our continued bad choices, not only do we as humans have to suffer, but the rest of God's creation does as well.

It makes me realize that we should ever seek to respond wholeheartedly to God, not simply so we can see our long-lost relatives in heaven, but so that the suffering in this world - and the suffering in God's heart - can finally be ended. (Of course, until that day does come, we should do all that we can now to make sure that things like this don't happen again - whether that be a dead bear, or an innocent person who has been gunned down in Los Angeles or Darfur or Baghdad.)

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).

Below is the picture of the cub. Notice just how small the it is. Those grooves in the road are the "rumble strips" in the breakdown lane, probably not more than 16 inches wide.

1 comment:

The mom, the robot, and the dancer said...

heartbreaking. but so true to think that we are all suffering under the weight of thousands of years of bad choices. that is so sad.