Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
It’s a sad fact of life that we don’t always have the answers. Think of the times you have asked the question, Why did this happen to me or my friends? People become very angry and upset at the unfairness of situations in the world, or of bad things that happen to them. Bad news can come at any time, and often we are not ready for it.
I’ve spoken before on this segment about the popular book When Bad Things Happen to Good People written by Rabbi Kushner. It was an instant bestseller which reflects what many people do ponder—a yearning and searching for answers, answers that satisfy. A young lady who had suffered a terrible accident said, “One of the first things you learn is that some questions don’t have answers”.
Do you know that in the book of Job in the Old Testament there are more than 300 questions? Have a read of the book yourself and see them. Many, or most of them, don’t have an answer. For example he said, “Why did I not die in the womb?” (Job 3:11). Or, “Why have You sent me as a mark against You so that I am a burden to myself?” (Job 7:20). When Job’s world tumbled in, he looked for answers, as we would do also. It’s natural to try and find answers to life’s difficult situations.
God is for us, not against us
C.S. Lewis was a bachelor until his mid-50s when he met and married the American poet Joy Davidman Gresham. They lived as husband and wife for 4 years until she died of cancer. Lewis was devastated, and he wrote about his feelings including this question, “Meanwhile, where is God?” A fair enough question. But let’s recall that despite whatever happens God is good. There is a God and he is good. We blame him for accidents, misfortune and tragedies. But let’s not blame God because his nature is love, forgiveness. He wants to bring healing and restoration. He does not cause the tragedy and terror that comes to people. He allows it to happen, but he does not cause it. God’s character is love. He was in the world through Jesus reconciling us. The Bible says God is for us—he is not against us.
Isn’t it a comfort to realise that God is all-knowing? He knows the beginning and the end unlike anyone else. He knows the story of your life, and we can trust him. Job was a respected man of his time and he had great possessions: 7,000 sheep and 3,000 camels, and a large household. He was a devout man, loyal husband and faithful father. But the Devil damaged his life and Job lost his family, his possessions and his health. Yet in the end, he trusted God. You see, God has a plan for every life and there is a purpose even in the most trying of times. One author puts it this way: “We are born with the potential to grow—no more, no less. From the moment we enter the world to the instant we exit this life, we experience opportunities for growth”.
Simply trusting everyday
Joni Eareckson Tada, who suffered terrible injuries in a diving accident, said: “Suffering gets us ready for heaven. How does it get us ready? It makes us want to go there. Broken necks, broken arms, broken bones, broken hearts – these things crush our illusions that earth can keep its promises.” Suffering moves our eyes from this world which God said could never satisfy us anyway, and sets them on the life to come.
James in his epistle says: “Consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure” (James 1:2-3). The early Christians faced many trials and suffered for their faith, and many died as martyrs. Life for them was not about being fair, but about proclaiming their faith in Jesus Christ, despite the risks. And today we live in different times, but trouble can suddenly come. The Christian can face life head-on.
There’s an old fashioned chorus that says, “Simply trusting everyday, trusting through a stormy way. Even when my faith is small, trusting Jesus that is all.” And Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose”.
If you have questions and no answers, take them to the Lord in prayer. It was the great preacher of years ago Charles Spurgeon who said, “God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken. And when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart”.