Unfinished Business

When Frank and I returned home from Kelly’s funeral, I was thinking that (except for a couple of final notices) the blog I had maintained during the crisis on Mt. Hood had pretty much served its purpose and should simply go to sleep. The rescue effort is over. Three grieving families have gone home. The media packed up their cameras and microphones and moved on to other stories. There really didn’t seem to be much more to say. Then I started having second thoughts.

It is a worn out metaphor, I know, but after all has been said and done, there is an elephant in the room—a big, glaring, cumbersome load of uncomfortable questions that, to be honest, most of us prefer to ignore. But to stop here and not face head-on the uncomfortable issues that this crisis has raised—raised in public, no less—is to turn away from the central issue of this entire ordeal and cheat ourselves of the kind of honest reflection we all need.

Looking back over what happened, anyone can see that we were set up for a miracle. All the pieces were in place. We had a desperate crisis. SAR experts were on the scene, well-equipped, ready and eager to tackle the mountain—willing to risk their lives to bring the missing climbers safely home. Resources, technology and volunteers poured in from all directions. Family members boldly spoke words of faith on network television. “Courage and hope”—how we clung to those words. God’s people everywhere mobilized to pray. Media cameras zoomed in and all America watched.

Yet, to our great dismay, there was no miraculous clearing of the skies. No stilling of the storms. No stopping of the winds. Instead, blizzards moved in with record fury, driving rescue workers off the mountain for the most critical days of the search. Everyone poured themselves into the effort and, to be completely honest, it seemed as though the only one who didn’t cooperate in the whole rescue operation was God.

The book of Job opens with a man of faith on his knees and a God who seems to work against the prayers of His child. It is utterly mind boggling, but after only two chapters faithful, righteous Job’s whole life stands in ruins. But the book doesn’t stop there. It goes on—for forty more chapters—to talk about the elephant in the room. Where was God when disaster fell? Why didn’t He step in and do something? What kind of God is He anyway? Are we wasting our time to put our faith in Him if He turns His back when we’re in trouble and crying out for His help?

Some of us are already wrestling with these questions—not just in the situation involving Kelly, Brian and Nikko, but in our private struggles with unanswered prayer and lives that are filled with disappointments, heartache, and loss. Our troubles mean these questions are personal, not academic. Much is at stake for all of us. We want to understand the God who holds our lives in His hands and whose ways so often defy our understanding.

And so, for a while, the Mt. Hood Climbers blog is going to continue. I think we have some unfinished business that we all need to address. I hope you will stick with us—not with the expectation of getting all your questions answered, but with the intent of being honest with God, with how life looks, with what faith in God is all about. These questions are under discussion in our home. I want to take the conversation online. Frank will be joining us. I think a lot of us are interested in hearing his thoughts on these matters.

If you have questions you’d like discussed in this forum, feel free to raise them in the comments. We can’t promise to cover everything, but we want to at least try to take this discussion to the next level.

May God meet us as we struggle to understand Him.


About carolyncustisjames

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