Some years ago I wrote a book called In All Deep Places that really impacted me in the writing of it. It was my first – and to date only – time to write from the point of view of a man. I remember wondering the whole time as I wrote if I would be able to pull it off and I also remember my utter relief when my editor on that project, the amazing Nick Harrison, told me I had.
Marvelous because I sure wouldn’t want to be somewhere where God isn’t, but mysterious and mesmerizing because sometimes it seems like He has turned aside, shut His eye, withdrawn His hand – left the building, if you know what I mean.
In this story a mystery writer named Luke, who is happy with his successful life on the East Coast, comes back home to Iowa after years away when his father suffers a devastating stroke. Troubling memories of girl-next-door Norah re-visit him from the get-go and he quickly gets swept up in the unfinished emotional business surrounding this girl who was his first kiss. Norah tried to blossom despite the chaos of her dysfunctional family, and it seems to Luke she would have had God not continually turned His back on her.
Deep down he knows God would never do that, but it’s in those deep places that we all struggle to understand why God doesn’t bless or at the very least intervene. Luke’s question is the question of the ages. I don’t supply the answer-to-beat-all-answers of course; no theologian or philosopher has been able to definitively answer the problem of a good God allowing bad stuff to happen to people who don’t deserve it, but I spend a good part of the book contemplating this question, as I think everyone should at some point in their life.