On Monday, I posed some questions that I would really like the answers to. I would be willing to bet they are questions you would like answered as well. But, let’s get this out of the way first. Is it even okay for us to question God?
According to the site https://www.gotquestions.org/:
“To question God is not in itself wrong. The prophet Habakkuk had questions for God concerning the timing and agency of the Lord’s plan. Habakkuk, rather than being rebuked for his questions, is patiently answered, and the prophet ends his book with a song of praise to the Lord. Many questions are put to God in the Psalms (Psalms 10, 44, 74, 77). These are the cries of the persecuted who are desperate for God’s intervention and salvation. Although God does not always answer our questions in the way we want, we conclude from these passages that a sincere question from an earnest heart is welcomed by God.”
So, let’s get to the questions.
Why must we experience pain? I honestly don’t know that we can fully answer this question on this side of eternity. And just like a perfectly executed plan, whenever it is time to blog about a certain emotion, God brings me face to face with it.
As I sat down to write about pain today, I need to first tell what day I’m writing this. It’s September 11, 2019. Eighteen years ago, our country experienced a terror attack that will forever change how we go about our day-to-day living in the USA. In addition, news reports are still rolling in about the lives lost in the hurricane that demolished the Bahamas last week. And I’m heading to the hospital to sit with a friend that fell and is awaiting surgery to repair two broken ankles while another friend is rushing her child to the doctor because he is not feeling well. In my own life, just yesterday, I had to walk away from a relationship that I’ve spent my lifetime trying to make right.
Broken hearts, lives devastated, and physical ailments all count as pain. Pain is all around us in this fallen world.
That’s the thing. Sin wasn’t a part of the original plan. The Garden of Eden was perfect. Pain, anguish, shame, guilt –none of those were a part of the original blueprint for human existence. They came crashing in with the fall after Adam and Eve chose their own wants over God’s plan. Our Father is a loving Father and just like any good parent does, sometimes He allows us to experience temporary hurt for eternal good. Would we even recognize blessing without burden, joy without anguish, or pleasure without pain?
Let’s go over some of those examples I mentioned in the introduction.
Let’s look at some of the things, allowed by a loving God, that seem so random and unexplainable. Are you thinking what possible eternal good could come out of thousands of people dying in the World Trade Center bombing? How could God allow something so atrocious to happen to so many innocent, good people? How can I even begin to reconcile that event with a loving Father? Yea, I agree it was a devastating event. One that shattered so many families, destroyed so many plans, yet, there was a beauty that was born out of the tragedy.
Do you recall the day after? When churches were flooded with people seeking God, when strangers were holding each other in the streets, when young men and women rushed to recruiters’ offices to lay their own lives on the line to honor the fallen citizens. The aftermath of hurricanes, the day after a mass shooting, or when an innocent child dies from a horrific disease like cancer, we see time and time again, people turning to each other in love and leaning into God.
The friend that was facing surgery for two broken ankles experienced tremendous pain from that fall. If she had not been allowed to endure pain, she would have further injured herself and caused irreparable damage to her feet and possibly ended up unable to walk. But this is the interesting thing – she has been dealing with unregulated blood pressure issues for many weeks. In fact, her blood pressure issue is what caused her to pass out, fall, and break those ankles in the first place. Now, while having to have the broken bones addressed, the doctor has been able to address the other issues that were disrupting her health. You see by God allowing physical pain into our lives, we can know when we are going too far and are perhaps setting ourselves up for more severe injury.
I mentioned that I had to break off a relationship that has caused me a tremendous amount of emotional pain. What you don’t know is that keeping the relationship alive was so destructive to my soul. I have spent my lifetime trying to save this family member. It has caused so many bruises to my spirit, so many tears to run down my face, but it has also pushed me to my Heavenly Father. I can trust Him to hold me and I am thankful that He took me through this to show me that I am no one’s savior. There is only One that can save a soul from destruction –Jesus Christ. Perhaps, with me walking away, my family member will have to lean on God and will finally be healed spiritually.
You see, although God allows pain to occur in our lives, He doesn’t abandon us to it. He walks with us every step of the way. He uses the Holy Spirit to propel us towards the healing only found in Christ. He may bring us to our knees, but He is always there waiting to lift us up. He wants nothing more than for us to love Him, lean on Him, and glorify Him. His plan doesn’t stop with our average 76 years on this planet. It is for eternity. So, for me, I have decided that I must accept that I will not fully understand why there are such tragedies in the world like the terror attacks, horrific natural disasters, mass shootings, or a precious child diagnosed with a fatal cancer until I reach Heaven’s Gates.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the Earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
God is asking me to trust in Him and I have no choice but to believe His thoughts are higher than mine and His vision is further than mine.
Father God, my heart aches for those that are suffering from physical pain of injury and disease, for those that feel their hearts have been shattered by betrayal or abuse, for those aching from grief and feel this pain is more than they can bear. I seek Your comfort Lord for each and every person that is affected by pain in this world. I trust that You, Father, will reveal a purpose in the pain and use it to advance Kingdom work. I trust that our tests will become our testimonies to Your unfailing love, grace and protection over us. I praise You for allowing me to come to You with my questions, Lord. I trust that even if Your answer is not what I want it to be, You know what is best. In the holy name of Your son, Jesus Christ, I offer my prayer. Amen
Written by Rhonda Carlsen
Please note all scripture was taken from the NIV.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.