***Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers of A Song of Fire and Ice: A Game of Thrones and Season 1 of the Game of Thrones HBO series.***
“She asked herself what gods she kept these days, and could not find an answer…
…The gods must have their due… even cruel gods who would take Ned from her, and her lord father as well.”
– George R.R. Martin. A Game of Thrones
Catelyn Stark is grief-stricken. She has just come from speaking with her bedridden father who is very near death. She received news that her husband was labeled a traitor to the crown and beheaded for his crimes. Her eldest daughter is stuck at the capital pledged to be married to the very person who gave the order to behead her husband. Of her youngest daughter, who was also at the capital, there has been no word.
Things have not been well in the life of Lady Stark for a long time now. Early on in the story, her middle son was thrown from a tower and an assassin was sent to complete the task where the fall had failed. As a result of his fall, he will not have use of legs for the rest of his days.
To make matters worse, her oldest son (only fifteen years old) has taken his place, as Lord of Winterfell, commanding his Father’s bannermen as they go to war against the family who sits upon the Iron Throne. Her brother and her uncle also ride with her son and could be killed at any moment in battle.
No, it doesn’t take much to understand why Catelyn thinks that the old gods of her husband or the new gods of her own House are cruel gods.
We look at the news and things going on in our own lives and come to the same conclusions. When explosions and gunshots go off, when flooding and earthquakes invade our towns and those of our families, when serious injury, illness, and death strike our families or others who are close to us, we wonder “where is God?” If he’s seeing, causing or allowing all of this evil to happen, he must be an unabashedly cruel god.
The response to these questions and concerns is found in something that neither the old or new gods of Westeros have. It’s found in Jesus.
Peace, rest, and salvation in the midst of all this suffering and death is found only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for you. That same death and resurrection that you have been baptized into. In Christ, death has been defeated!
The evils of this world continue. The death of Eddard Stark screams to Catelyn that the roaring lion of House Lannister reigns supreme and only cruel gods would let it. The bombings in Boston and the explosion in Texas, the sickness and death in our own lives try to convince us that the devil continues to prowl around like a roaring lion always devouring.
The difference is that the devil has been defeated. In Christ, the one true, merciful God has conquered sin, death and the devil and grants you forgiveness and salvation and gives you His peace.