I love looking at Facebook. Seeing what’s happening with my family that lives across the country. Checking out everyone’s first day of school pictures of their kids. Just wasting time looking at cat videos – you know, the usual. But I have to sometimes pull myself away and turn it off for a while and pray for my friends. Along with everyone’s highs in their life – you also see the lows. Which I love and also hate about Facebook – and all social media-but that’s another blog post. I see that my friend is praying fervently for her friend who’s infant son is so very sick and I pray with her. I see that my cousin is begging for prayers for her grandmother and I beg with her. I see that my high school friend has just lost everything he owns in a flood and I weep with him. I see a friend mourning because today is the one year anniversary of her husband’s death in which he took his own life and I mourn with her. I see pain, sickness, death.
Why did this happen?
How could a loving God allow such a terrible thing?
What did I do to deserve this?
Why would God let innocent children suffer?
All questions I’m sure we have asked – if not out loud – in the secret depths of our hearts when we see the pain and suffering of this world in which we live.
When little children get cancer, or a family is hit by a drunk driver and killed on their way home from church, when it’s your mom, or your sister…your baby. Of course, it hurts and we don’t understand and we ask …WHY??
Even if we have a complete understanding of who God is and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves us, He sent His son, Jesus to die for us and save us from our sins. Even with that promise – it still hurts. It still doesn’t make any sense in our earthly minds.
I’m doing a Bible study right now on the book of Hosea. It’s called-strangely enough – Hosea. In the study we learn that Hosea the prophet is told by God to marry a promiscuous woman (she represents Israel or us). He chooses a woman named Gomer and marries her. True to form, Gomer is unfaithful to Hosea; but he buys her back from promiscuity anyway and redeems her (obviously representing God’s plan for Israel and ultimately us through Jesus). A lot happened in between those two events – the marriage and the redemption. A lot of pain, suffering, tears, anguish.
Hosea and Gomer had children – three of them in fact. In those years when Gomer was astray before she was redeemed by Hosea, I’m sure those children wondered “why?”. Maybe their prophet dad had a good explanation or was able to field those deep spiritual questions for them – I hope he did.
But they were innocent in the matter. They didn’t ask for this. None of us did. SO why?
Let me give you a very complicated answer in one word.
Now before you go all crazy with the – Are you saying that my child got cancer because she sinned? Or I lost my baby because of something I did? It’s their own fault that the children in Ethiopia are starving?
NO – absolutely not. That is not what I’m saying.
What I’m saying is – there is sin in the world. When it entered the world it brought with it some of it’s best friends. Pain, sickness, and death.
I’m saying that children suffer with cancer because there is sin in the world, and families are killed by drunk drivers because there is sin in the world. Our world is broken, it’s hurting, it suffers. Pain, sickness and death are no respecters of person – they don’t care who you are or what you’ve done-they deal out their cards without bias.
If you are at all familiar with the book of Job, you know that he was a good man who served God faithfully. God allowed (notice allowed, not caused) some pretty terrible things to happen to Job – I mean the worst things you can imagine. And Job’s friends were all “Dude, what did you DO?” Even Job’s wife told him to “Curse God, and die!” She was not at all understanding why God would allow this to happen to her husband and basically told him to just let God allow him to die to end his suffering. His friends assumed what was happening had something to do with Job. But Job understood the answer.
So what’s the answer? I mean, how do we deal with this and live with the fact that there’s nothing we can do to avoid all pain, sickness and death?
Again, let me give you a very complicated answer in one word.
The ultimate answer is – I don’t know. But that’s not the whole answer. The whole answer is
I don’t know, yet.
The whole picture has not been revealed, yet. The master has not finished creating his masterpiece, yet.
This is when I go back to what I know to be true of God and exactly what Job did. He knew these things to be true so he waited. He waited for the “yet”.
I know that He is good.
I know that He is merciful.
I know that He is righteous.
I know that He keeps His promises.
So when you’re suffering, or your sweet innocent children are suffering – when there’s pain, sickness and death; please know that there is a “yet”. This is not the end of our story, even with death. The fact that we lived – effects the world around us, it effects the people in our lives who knew us and our story doesn’t end. Please remember what we know to be true about God – even when it doesn’t FEEL true and the world tries to tell us it’s not true – remember that
God is good.
God is merciful.
God is righteous.
God keeps His promises.
And I’m sorry for your pain, your sickness, and the death around you. Your story isn’t over yet. Please, keep reading, because the ending of your story is going to be – epic.