Monday, November 30, 2015

When We Face the Unexplainable

The best stories, the ones I go back to read again, are the ones that finish well.

And by that, I mean the ones with a happily ever after kind of ending.

But right now?  In this world?  These days?

Every time I watch the news I see how chilling the world we live in can be.
My heart is moved for people that I don't know anything about ...
except to know that they are facing horrible suffering.
Horrible gut wrenching suffering.

And the people that I do know are not exempt from pain either.

We may wonder, why does God allow it?

Where is God while this is happening?

Sometimes, if I'm honest about it, I feel like I could use an answer.
That it might make me feel better.

A specific answer.

Something to help take away the bewilderment that so often comes with great sorrow.

Something to explain  the horrible disease, the great shock of betrayal or the numbing of loss.

We face the unexplainable and feel helpless.
Because we are helpless.

We can't fix it.

We can't eliminate suffering.
We can’t answer the question why, because we are not God.

We are not God.

There was that night I heard a father ask no one in particular “Who did this”
while his daughter faced an outcome that was not good.
As if to answer his own question, he pointed his finger straight up towards Heaven.

His spirit and his heart were broken.
They were crushed, and he spoke from a place of great sorrow.

Sorrow like I have never known.

His mother, the child’s grandmother, did not offer an answer to his question, but gently said, 
“You can’t blame God for this.  You know He didn’t do it.” 

The father replied, out of His brokenness, 
“But He could have stopped it and He didn’t.”

If good results points to a good God, what does pain say about God?

About His ability?

About His love for us or His goodness to us all?

The truth is, we live in a fallen world.

Nothing is as God created it to be.

In reality, He could have turned His back on us.
But He did not.

These hard things do not change who God is.
They do not take away from His goodness.

This mother speaking from her own place of brokenness wrote words to share with us that
suffering does not mean the absence of God.

She also shared something else that resonates with me... that our good?

It is found only in His nearness.

This time of year, as Christmas approaches, this truth takes on a new depth.
As I think about the fact that my good is found only in His nearness.

That nearness is only possible because
 He was the one who took the first step.

He came to be with us.
To be near.

That question "where"?

Where is God when I am hurting?

Where is God in this situation?

He is here.


With me.
With you.

And He is grieving with us.

He carries our burdens.
And He comforts us in our sorrow.

This time of year, He reveals it quietly to us.

In the presence of a baby.

But not just any baby.

All the holiness and majesty of our good God wrapped in the skin of a newborn.

The eternal God with a birthday.

He came to us because He wanted to be with us.

We may never know why there is hard in our life and the lives of others.

But us not knowing why does not make God any less God.

Not one little bit.

Christmas reminds us.

The real meaning, the answer, to all of our questions is wrapped up in that little baby.


I hope that in your own search for meaning to your pain,
that you do not point fingers at God,
but instead, turn your face toward Him and seek His nearness.

Christmas helps us to see that His great desire is to be with us!
To be near to us.

You may be like me and dream of stories with good endings.

God has promised to those who follow Him that a happy ending is coming one day.

That the God who came to us will come for us.

But until that happens?

We can find peace in knowing there is also a great story being written for us now,
even when the ending we hope for goes unrealized.

Because God is the writer of our story, and He is also the One who does all things well.

This includes your story.

Open your heart, your hands to Him and say with so many who have gone before you,

In my story God?
Your will is what I long for, and I trust my story to Your pen.

And then, seek His nearness.

He has already taken the first step.


The Lord is near to the broken hearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18


"Hope is Alive"
Ellie Holcomb

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