When There Are No Answers

  • images-1Where was God this week when the family went missing from the floods in Texas?
  • If He is all-powerful, why didn’t He save them all?
  • Why does He allow for such tragedies?

These are our questions. Variations of these same questions have been asked throughout time. Yet God’s sovereignty, goodness, presence and power can’t ever be completely comprehended this side of heaven.

I wish this wasn’t how it is. I wish we had the foreknowledge to see well into the future – to know things were going to be okay. To see how God would use bad for good. To help us to trust Him better. But this isn’t how it is and that is what makes faith, faith.

So we are left to wrestle with our faith, our questions, our doubts and our anger.  And, yes, we can be angry at and question God. He knows what is in your mind anyway and if you look at the Psalms you will see people praying their pain.

“O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep…” Psalm 88:1-6

This is how honest we can be before Him. And for those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones, you do not have to sugar-coat the real feelings you feel. You don’t have to put a Christian-spin on your pain and pretend your faith is so great you don’t question.

One of my husband’s seminary professors used to say, “I pray for people when they are suffering that God would protect them from other Christians.” Christians who mean well but actually add more hurt by throwing out spiritual platitudes to try to help. 

So though we don’t know the whys, we have a God who knows what it is like to lose a Son and Savior who knows what it’s like to suffer.  A Savior who left his heavenly throne to enter in to the brokenness of this world so He could identify with us as Friend.

He did not come just to suffer for us, but He came to suffer with us. So now we have a resource to turn to with all of our questions, all of our hurts, all of our pain and all of our suffering. 

By God’s grace may we know this One who is a Friend to the broken-hearted and may we feel His presence near.

imagesDon’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box! For an additional post on the God’s sovereignty, see: When Disaster Strikes.

To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God

Take my hand                                                                                                                                       And lead me to salvation                                                                                                                  Take my love                                                                                                                                          For love is everlasting                                                                                                                         And remember

The truth that once was spoken …

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Beautiful lines from the Les Miserables finale, but what exactly does it mean? How is God’s face seen in the love of another person?

Since the lines were sung by the characters Valjean, Fantine and Eponine, I have to think this was their reality.  They believed in that once spoken truth.  They saw God through another’s love.

In discussing Valjean in last week’s post, we saw what effect the bishop extending a second chance “to become an honest man” had in transforming Valjean’s life. The love and grace he experienced led to him reciprocating that same type of love and grace toward Fantine.

Fantine was his dying factory worker who had been desperately trying to support her young daughter, Cosette.  I think Valjean personally identified with her; after all 20+ years prior, the bread he stole deeming him a thief, was for his sister’s young child.  He understood first-hand the struggle and desperation of working to supply the needs of a child.

Out of compassion toward both Fantine and Cosette, Valjean sat at Fantine’s deathbed and promised to care for Cosette.  And until his own death he did exactly that.  His world was Cosette and every decision he made based out of love for her.

By his love Valjean was imaging forth God.  God created each of us in His image, and though sin distorts that image by His grace we can still reflect His glory to others.  When we are captivated by His love for us, we are driven outside of ourselves to revolve our lives around others, putting their interests ahead of our own desires.  In this way we fulfill our calling to be “imitators of God” and “to walk in love” (Eph. 5:1-2).

Being created in the image of God and made for one another produced the innate longing to be loved that Eponine craved.  She was the  the lonely daughter of the bawdy innkeepers and actually had much in common with Valjean and Fantine.  As an interesting side note all three showed love to Cosette in various ways.  But more significant is the rejection, hatred, agony and desperation all three experienced.

The difference for poor Eponine is until her death she remained unloved.  And, in knowing what love was not, she longed for what it is. She longed to be loved and cared for the way she saw Cosette loved by Valjean and also Marius.  There was a sense that life was not how it should be, which it wasn’t for her, or any of us.

Because of sin, we will never be fully satisfied here on earth; there will always be rejection, hatred, agony, desperation, struggle, disappointment.  We will not reflect God to others the way we were created to and others will fail to reflect God to us.

But God in his goodness and grace gives us little pointers.  Pointers to something better.  Pointers to who He is. Pointers to a day when His children will behold Him face to face.  These pointers come when love is shown and He is reflected through the human love of another.

This Valentines Day if you see more of who God is because of the love of another person, praise Him for it.  But if you feel more like Eponine, rest knowing there is only One who loves perfectly. Only One who will make all things right. Only One who by His love can fill us up completely.  And when we find that in Him, we can then pour out His love on others.

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“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:7,19

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