Conversation Number 14
Conversations are updated as He leads.
The following conversation between a believer and God is not meant to represent a specific
theology or theological truth. It represents one believer's struggle and the response that
believer represents as God's truth for that believer and that believer alone.
The following article
is reprinted for educational purposes only.
he following article
is reprinted for educational purposes only.
By Mark Riley, Herald Correspondent in New York
Ted Turner is no stranger to loss. He lost his marriage, then his media empire last
year. But nothing could prepare him for the loss of his two-year-old granddaughter, Maddox
Garlington, who died suddenly of a rare hereditary disease two weeks ago. As Mr Turner
flies to Australia in the next couple of days - for the latest, and possibly last, of his
Goodwill Games - there seems to be no end to his grief. His colleagues say the death of
Maddox has left the 63-year-old tycoon "virtually inconsolable". She was the
youngest daughter of his youngest daughter, Jennie Garlington. Maddox suffered from Hurler
syndrome, an enzyme deficiency that can cause severe mental retardation, facial distortion
and serious defects in internal organs and bones. Doctors have had limited success with
bone marrow transplants, but there is no known cure. Sufferers normally die before their
teens. Just a few months ago Mr Turner learned that another of his grandchildren had been
diagnosed with the same disorder. The syndrome, commonly referred to as gargoylism because
of the facial abnormalities it can cause, occurs when an inherited genetic abnormality is
passed on by both parents. Mr Turner has spent the past two weeks at his daughter's side.
He has cancelled all business appointments leading up to the Goodwill Games, which begin
in Brisbane on Wednesday, and does not intend to make any public appearances until a brief
news conference on opening day."You will have to excuse him if he is not his usual
exuberant self when he gets to Australia," one of his colleagues said this week.
"We can only imagine the pain his family is going through." Mr Turner learned of
Maddox's illness last year, amid all the confusion of the AOL-Time Warner merger and the
emotional strain of his divorce. He said in an interview with The New Yorker magazine in
April that his life had hit rock bottom at that time, taking him to the brink of suicide.
"I felt like Job," he said. Mr Turner had been shattered as he watched his media
empire slip from his grasp in the wake of the AOL-Time Warner mega-merger. His news and
movie networks were consumed by the multi-media monolith. But it was just business, after
all. Mr Turner had rolled enough people in his time to know it could one day happen to
him. Just a few months before, he had dealt with a loss of a more personal nature, when
his marriage to the actress Jane Fonda collapsed. Again, he had found a way of coming to
terms with his pain. Partners grow apart; marriages break down; it is unfortunate, but it
happens. The death of Maddox, though, has had a profound affect on the hard-edged Southern
tycoon. It is not the first time Mr Turner has lost someone close to him. He nursed his
younger sister to a slow and painful death from an immune system disease when he was a
teenager. He had planned to become a missionary, but turned his back on religion after her
death. "I couldn't understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to
suffer so," he said in the New Yorker interview. Mr Turner has incited the ire of the
US religious right since, describing Christianity as "a religion for losers" and
asking Catholics at CNN whether they were "Jesus freaks" when they arrived for
work on Ash Wednesday with crosses on their foreheads. Those around Mr Turner say the past
year has changed him, dousing some of his fire and making him less confrontational.
Friends note his shoulders slope more, his hair has turned white and his hearing is
failing. Since effectively losing control of his company, he has devoted much of his time
to the many philanthropic pursuits of his Turner Foundation. And he has set up the Maddox
Garlington Memorial Fund for research into Hurler syndrome. His search for a cure entails
potent sense of purpose - the life of his second grandchild with the disease.
Here we are back at the same old stuff. We keep going
over this. I just read about Ted Turner and I hurt for him. Many people probably don't
care about whether he hurts but he hurts because, in part, he does not understand. You
have given me answers but either I have not understood or something is missing. I still
want more of an answer about why there is pain and suffering.
O.K., let me try to explain it this way. When things were created, I gave Lucifer and
all the other angels free will. From Ted Turner's perspective, and really from your
perspective, that was a mistake. From your perspective, that idea of giving every
spiritual creature (including human beings) freedom of choice was a mistake. However,
giving freedom to spiritual beings was not a mistake from my perspective. Lucifer had the
power to make choices and decisions. He chose to turn away from me. At the instant he
turned away, hell came into existence. The instant he turned away, every kind of hellish
suffering by human beings came into existence. Let's back up and redo creation, so to
speak, for just a second. Let's take back free will. Let's make every spiritual being void
of freedom of thought and freedom of choice. What do we have? We have plants. We have
plants that can move about, eat, sleep, and reproduce. When someone is comatose from a
stroke or accident you call them a vegetable. With no free will, with no freedom of
thought there is nothing. No art, no music, no literature, no invention, no creative
spirit, no development of any kind on any level. When there is no freedom there is no sin
and there is no righteousness. I know you understand the intellectual concept. I know you
don't like the answer on an emotional level. There will always be the perception by some
people that I am an imperfect God doing bad things to people. This perception enables
people to run away from committing their life to me. Who would want to give their life to
a person who does bad things to human beings? No one.
What is my problem then?
You don't want to totally give up. You do not want to totally give up your
pain and suffering. You do not want to surrender it to me because it is so much a part of
you. Pain and suffering can be so long and so difficult it becomes a part of a person's
being. There is healing with me. Sometimes the healing does not come until you die. When
you die you can give up all that suffering in one instant.
How can I give up something that is attacking me night and day?
Use your free will. That is what we are talking about. We are talking about
using your free will to give up or surrender to me.
I try to surrender.
Trying is not good enough.
I don't like writing this. I don't like hearing this.
I know you don't. You can sense my love can't you?
Yes, Lord. I can sense your love.
Travel that road. Travel that sense of my love. When you do sense my love then
surrendering is pretty much an automatic thing. Ted has to give up. You have to give up.
Everyone has to give up. You can give up while you are alive by making a decision to give
up. You can struggle after you make the decision but when you make the decision and travel
the road to me, by following the sense that I love you, then the rest of the surrendering
I understand it all but suffering stinks.
Yes, I know it does. I feel it with you. I am a part of you. I am a bigger
part of you if you travel the road to me. However, I want to give you and Ted hope. Here
is the hope. In heaven, I built a barrier of light against the darkness, so to speak. In
heaven, there is no darkness because everything is light. We don't even have shadows up
here because the light is everywhere. There is no darkness, no pain, no suffering, no
stress, no strife, no problems. Satan cannot get near to heaven because the light takes
away his darkness. Someday you will see, feel, and experience all this. Ted's grandchild
is in my arms. I can hold every person in my arms in heaven. Christ suffered and died to
give people hope and to give them a way to get to be in my arms. Christ paid the price of
your being in darkness. You cannot live in heaven if you have darkness with you when you
die. When you turn away from the darkness and reject it, then when you die you escape out
of your body and escape the grip of the darkness. Because I gave you free will, you can
make a decision to turn away from the darkness. If you decide to not turn away from the
darkness but decide instead to keep the darkness or keep living in the darkness, you have
Suffering still stinks.
Yes, it does. However, you must move past that idea. Satan is still
influencing you here. You will have pain in this life until Jesus returns. However, by
focusing on the pain, by focusing on how unjust it is (and it is unjust) you are like a
person who has been unjustly slandered and cannot let go of the injustice. Let go of the
idea that suffering stinks. Give it up. Move on, have a few laughs, get goofy, do work, or
whatever. There are two things Satan cannot stand. He cannot stand love and Satan cannot
stand the idea that people do not hold his injustice within themselves. As long as you
hold this idea of suffering and suffering's injustice within you, suffering and Satan have
you in their grasp. Do you understand this?
Yes Lord, I understand.
Do you love me?
Yes Lord, I love you.
You won't type it but I will tell you. Yes, we do have sports in heaven.
However, since everything is supernatural the losers end up being as happy as the winners.
The goofiest part about football in heaven is the clock. It is a joke. Every time the
clock stops or starts there is hilarious laughter. I love you, my son.
I love you back Lord.