When I picked up my little boy from the sitter today, we had the windows down enjoying the nice breeze as we quickly headed home before church. But once service had concluded and I was walking out to my truck, I realized that while just a few short hours ago I was completely comfortable in a T-shirt, now I was wishing I had brought my jacket out of the office with me because it was freezing! I ran outside and blasted the heat. The dash said it was 37 degrees outside. Weather in central Arkansas is always a gamble between late September and early April, yet still people are always surprised at how rapidly the weather changes. In times like this I ask the question everyone has asked before… Why?
While some of the why questions we ask center on the ever-changing weather, there are others that are a bit more serious.
Right now, I am thinking of a dear friend who is dealing with terrible pain throughout their body, and the hospitals they have visited cannot figure out the cause of the pain. Why does my friend have to suffer? Why does the family have to suffer too, not being able to provide any sort of comfort to their loved one who is hurting?
I can’t help but think of another close friend who wants nothing more than to have a family of their very own, but because of health reasons never had the opportunity. Why will these amazing people never get to share in the joy that so many other parents do as they hug their little one when they get home from work?
Others ask why cancer wrecked the comfortable lives they had worked so hard for. Why did that loved one have to pass so early? Why has my family fallen apart? Why did the company cut my job and not others? Why can I not find true love? Why did I say those words? Why does life have to be so hard and I can never catch a break? Why? Why? Why can we not get answers to these questions?
I think back to a story where a man asked that same question and didn’t get the answer he was looking for.
In Matthew 27 as Jesus is hanging, dying on a cross for crimes he did not commit to fulfill the mission God had placed before him, he cries out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
As Jesus cried out to his heavenly father, he must have known that all God had to do was speak the words and the pain and suffering would be over, but he didn’t. All God had to do was reach down with his mighty hand, that people praised as Lazarus walked out of the tomb, and Jesus would suffer no more.
My friend would be pain free, the couple would have children of their own, and cancer would be healed. Yet these prayers ring out with no answer coming in return.
In moments like these, I believe faith is pushed to the ultimate limit.
Often our conversations, worship songs, and devotionals talk as though we have this unshakeable faith, but then something unexpected happens and we question God. Even Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, was in a situation where he had to ask the why question. Yet he still had complete faith and trust in God’s plan.
We find out if we truly trust in God’s almighty power when our faith is tested to the point of us asking, “Why?”. It is at this point that we discover if the relationship we claim to have with the Savior is rooted and unshakable, or if the first strong wind of resistance will blow us away.
Scripture is clear that we serve a God who is a promise maker and a promise keeper. The passage from Proverbs I learned when I was in elementary school seems to hold more and more truth the older I get: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT). In Psalms, “take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4 NLT) we see that God is a promise maker. In the New Testament, Paul confirms this in Romans 8:38. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not only is God a promise maker, our God is a promise keeper. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20 NLT). In the Old Testament, God promised to “never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT). Our God is a promise maker and a promise keeper and when things do not work out the way we think they should, or it seems that God has forgotten about us, we need to hold this truth. Friends will let you down, family will let you down, even your church and your pastor are going to let you down. But God will never let you down so long as you have complete faith and trust in God and His plan.
As life continues and the craziness seems to never end, and you find yourself at a place where you are asking why, remember God’s promises and know that He is a promise keeper. God does not always give an immediate answer to our questions and that can be hard to swallow at times. But, God’s plan is always better than our plan and we must put our faith and trust in that truth.
Daniel, Youth Pastor