That’s what we really want to know. We want God to answer, to give an account of Himself.
“How long will the pain last?”
“Why did he leave me?”
“Why did she die so young?”
“How long will I be unemployed?”
“Why won’t they leave me alone?
“Why me? Why now? Why this?”
Sometimes we learn the answers; often not. But still, we ask.
The asking is built into us; we can’t help it. We ask, “Why?” because we understand cause and effect. We ask, “How long?” because we discern beginnings and endings. We ask because we’re human. Even Jesus, the divine human asked, “Why have you forsaken me?”
“Why?” and “How long?” don’t ususally have clear answers. However, there are other questions you can always know the answers to. They have a definite yes or no, with a clarity that anyone can grasp. BUT…I hope you won’t ask them when you suffer.
Is God here?
Does God care?
Is God part of this?
Did God cause this?
Does God have a purpose for this?
Is God punishing me?
Will I be okay?
I say that I hope you won’t ask them when you suffer, because I know you’ll need the answers before you suffer.
The answers are so much harder to find in the storm. It’s also easy to disregard the truth in the midst of a storm because we may be too wrapped up in confusion, fear, anger, or feelings of loneliness.
But, we rarely think about these things before we need them. We are often like a grasshopper who wasted the summer away without ever thinking about preparing for winter.
People who expect suffering to come will read and think and pray and wrestle with these questions well before the storm hits. Then, in the storm, they hang on to those truths for hope and comfort. Without them, suffering preys upon our pain or grief injecting fear and doubt that eats away at our hope.
I will be honest and say that I wasn’t completely prepared for a huge storm to shake up my life. These days I know that there is another storm just around the corner. We can’t escape these storms as Christians but God will be here, with us, through all of it.
The ANCHOR ANSWERS:
With clear answers to these questions, we have an anchor for our souls and a reason to hope. (Hebrews 6:19)
A biblical perspective on suffering accepts the certainty of suffering but embraces the hope of God’s reign over it.
Everyday, I fight a storm that seems to never let up. On the outside, I’m conversing with a friend, playing with my dog, or writing; but in my mind I’m struggling to hold the door closed against a biting wind of anxious thoughts.
What holds me together is truths that I hold onto.
*I know God is real and He is here, holding the door against the storm with me.
*I know God cares, having the empathy of one who has experienced ultimate suffering and sorrow himself.
*I know God is in this with me, like a father who wraps his little child in his coat and bears the worst of the wind.
*I know we live in a broken, cursed world full of sin, death and suffering, and yet God directs all things as the Sovereign Lord of all. Even though I cannot fully grasp this mystery of providence, I know my suffering does not escape His loving notice, nor is it beyond His power. I know she is neither a victim of fate, or the devil.
*I know Gods purpose toward me, as a believer, is only good eternally. And although the path in this life has many hazards, God makes even these serve my greater, eternal good.
*I know God is not punishing me for Christ was fully punished in my place, and lives again as the Mediator of my favor with God.
**And therefore I know, with soul-deep certainty, that I will be okay. My God and Savior made a promise.
THIS is the anchor for my soul!
I hope and pray that this can be a comfort and hope for your soul as well!
The world is scary and full of trouble. You can arm yourself against the day of trouble with the truth.
Knowledge that if you belong to Christ, God is here.
He does care.
He’s in it with you.
He has a purpose.
He’s not mad at you.
You will be okay.
If you’ll take the time to find out if this is true-by reading the Bible-then, you can know before you need to know.
You may find that knowing these things is a greater comfort than knowing why or how long.