There are a million little thoughts running through my head on any given day. Should I wear heels or flats? I wonder how a lob would look on me; t’s all the rage right now. I need to work out today; I’m starting to get a stomach pudge. That’s what was happening this weekend when I received a text from a dear friend of mine. He said, “I’m at your church.” This is not normal; he attends a different church than mine. In this conversation, he proceeded to tell me that his young, healthy mother was just diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer, and they aren’t sure what is next for her.
It’s amazing how trivial are all the daily little thoughts when we encounter the frailty of life.
I wanted to tell him how much I care for him, how it hurts my heart to see him in pain. I wanted to tell him everything would be okay. I wanted to hug him so tight that he felt safe and at peace, but none of that would really help. It’s a good thought, but would it really help? Instead, I just listened – listened to his pain, his fear, his anger, and his doubts. I listened to my dear friend sincerely question God’s omnipotence and His love. And you know what? It’s okay.
In Scriptures, David was the person of whom it was written: “He was a man after God’s own heart.” In fact, God himself said that about David. And yet David unequivocally questioned God with the most profound sincerity. He questioned God to His face:
Psalm 13: 1-4 (with emphasis on the deepness of his pain) How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
Sounds a lot like modern day people, doesn’t it? “God, why? Why do you sit and watch Your children suffer with cancer? Why do you allow ISIS to spread a culture of rape against helpless children? Why do you let children die or become orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa? God, explain Yourself!”
If I am honest to my hurting friend and to you, dear reader, this situation caused me to question God, too. How can a loving God who sees everything and is omnipotent allow human suffering? I questioned God while maintaining the truth that He is loving, listening and responding. David did the same in the remainder of Psalm 13 (verses 5-6). He declared:
But I have trusted in Your mercy. My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Personally, while I wait to hear from God, I like to zone out to music that reminds me of this truth. For me this weekend, I listened to this beautiful song on repeat: “Sons and Daughters” by Brett Stanfill.
“No matter where we go we’re close to the Father’s heart. Though we stumble He will not let us fall. We are the Lord’s and He will never forsake His own. We are the sons, we are the daughters of God.”
As I prayed, meditated, and trusted Him, He answered me. While I can regurgitate what He told me, by-and-large I don’t think this will really help anyone reading this. I think it more important for a few other things to happen, namely recognizing:
(1) God can minister His answers to the heart of people as He has to me. Unless God tells me to speak into my friend’s life and answer questions, I am to trust that He is speaking directly to Him.
(2) If my friend is deeply suffering, the best I can do for him is to listen and pray. Logic and reasoning don’t comfort a suffering heart. Compassion comforts.
The thing about God is He may not respond the way you or I want, but He will respond. He likely will not spew rainbows and unicorns into your life, but He will give you so much more in truth, grace, and love. As you go about your day, I hope you find peace in knowing God is speaking to you; and if like my friend, you are suffering right now, God is wrapping His arms around you in love.
With love, PriskaTabitha