|Bedroom window in East Lansing, MI,|
where Linda and I slept together for 11 years.
Today I dared to read some more of Jerry Sittser's A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. There is no better book written on grief and help for grieving people than this. To read this book is to enter into grief and come out on the other side. Re. the book, I haven't come out on the other side yet. Perhaps I should read Sittser's new book - A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life.
How one grieves and responds to suffering and loss is greatly and inexorably a function of one's worldview. I share Sittser's worldview. So, I quote him:
"I have often imagined my own story fitting into some greater scheme, the half of which I will never fathom. I simply do not see the bigger picture, but I choose to believe that there is a bigger picture and that my loss is part of some wonderful story authored by God himself. Sometimes I wonder about how my own experience of loss will someday serve a greater purpose that I do not yet see or understand." (118)
We don't have epistemic access to the mind of an all-knowing God. We can and will say, "I see no purpose in this suffering." But we cannot logically conclude from that, "Therefore there is no purpose in this suffering." To do that is to commit Stephen Wyckstra's "no-seeum" fallacy, where the condition of reasonable epistemic access is unmet.
Standing on a 50-story building I look down and say, "I see no caterpillars in the garden 50 stories below." That is correct. But I cannot conclude: "Therefore there are no caterpillars in the garden 50 stories below." I can't conclude this because I don't have epistemic access to the claim. I remain unable to see them, whether they are there or not.