Andrew “Andy” Ladak
WHERE WERE YOU, GOD?
Where were you, God?
I didn’t see you anywhere.
Oh, I admit, I didn’t always look for you.
You might recall that I was kind of busy then,
what with the war and all.
I’m sure you understand.
But still, you could have let me know that you were there.
You could have shown yourself, revealed your hand.
Most of all, you could have helped.
I know what you will tell me, God: I should have prayed some more.
That’s always been your standard line: “Have faith and pray, my son.”
(We soldiers call it SOP, like an immediate-action drill.)
Well, great. That’s fine for you to say,
but I had other things to do—patrols and ambushes and stuff.
And by the way, I did pray some (though evidently not enough).
Don’t get me wrong,
I know that you were busy, too.
I mean, you had eternities and galaxies to run,
while I just had a lousy war, and soldiers getting killed.
But trust me, God, I couldn’t find much time to pray.
Besides, I’m not so sure that if I could,
my praying would have done much good.
Now I’ve got a bit more time
(though not a lot, as you must know),
so I’ve been giving it some thought.
And you know what?
I’ve come to realize that I’m
still pretty mad at you.
I wonder where the hell you were
when bullets flew and shells were bursting all around.
You must have known we needed close support.
The very least you could have done (if only as a last resort)
was help me keep my men alive.
I tried, I really tried, but it was more than I could do alone,
so in between the mortar rounds and trying to survive,
I looked for you,
but you were nowhere to be found.
And in the meantime, I’m afraid,
a lot of soldiers died,
including those that prayed.
I guess you didn’t hear, with all that other noise.
And maybe there were reasons why you couldn’t interfere.
Or could it be—I say this with all due respect—
that you just didn’t care about my boys?
Oh, hell, who knows. Perhaps (as I suspect) you don’t exist.
But if you do,
and if this time you’re listening, God,
you ought to know that I’m still pissed.
©Copyright February 2009 by Andrew Ladak
Author’s Note: The so-called “problem of evil”—the difficulty in reconciling monstrous evil in the world with the existence of God—has bedeviled philosophers and theologians for centuries. Most soldiers aren’t given to fancy debates about such stuff, but our experiences have led some of us to ask questions we might not have asked before.