The vernacular says deridingly: Bad people become especially old. And vice versa: God takes the good people early to himself. But these two sayings, which actually are helpless attempts to explain the reality of death, so aren’t right of course. We believe gladly those statistics, which claim, that people in the western industrialized countries increasingly can reckon with a higher life span.

A long life, blessing or curse? Is life much too long? would you like to ask, when you think of all the humans, which vegetate unworthy in retirement homes or when you think of the humans, who would like to die but cannot, because they are victims of an overbred hi-tech medicine, which unnatural prolongs their lives. Yes indeed, life is holy, but can that be at the cost of humanity? Doesn’t play a medicine “God”, which wants to “save” the life at the cost of the patient in the same way as a euthanasia, which hands the hemlock cup to a patient?

And on the other hand: How many children and teenagers die too early, without their lives have been able to unfold fully? Thereby I don’t only think of the high childhood mortality in the developing countries, but also of the lot of children, which are incurable come down with cancer or lose their lives in traffic. How many children become maltreated, abused and beaten to death! I hardly can endure – least of all understand – this whole insanity which calls itself life.

I cannot endure a God, who allows such life. But vice versa, I cannot endure such life without God. The thought that there is a God, who is almighty and has a look at the entire spectacle on earth without intervening – he only has to click with his fingers and the complete suffering would end – for me is frightening!

A human, the human, Jesus, also died too early. How I had wished that he lived long. That he becomes 70 or 80 years old, that he can leave his traces deeply in the souls of humans. But this time is not granted to him. He eats and drinks like us. But Jesus doesn’t live by bread alone but out of the heart of God. Therefore, I can “understand” God through Jesus. Through Jesus, I can endure the tension between God and the suffering in this world.

I look in Jesus into the gracious eyes of God. I don’t see in his death at the cross an almighty God but a powerless God, who conciliatory offers his powerless, pierced hands to his torturers. In and through Jesus God reveals himself, whose love is stronger than death. (Volker Schunck)

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