God Cares About our Hard Questions

I grew up living in fear of God. No, not the fear that means revering Him, but the quaking fear of being pursued by an unapproachable, vindictive God who sought to harm me. I pictured Him as standing above me with a sword ready to strike me down and cast me into hellfire if I stepped even one toenail out of the way of what the church dictated.

I learned not to question God and not to question the ministers who were set in authority over us, because they were God’s messengers speaking for God. Spiritual, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse from a minister locked me in a prison with no way out.

BUT GOD…

Thanks be to God who broke the chains and did provide a way out. It’s an ongoing healing journey, but God has graciously led me to a way of love through Jesus, a love we didn’t hear much of. God is love. He delights to save us, not to harm us. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, and He doesn’t condemn us.

God doesn’t stop loving us when questions plague our hearts. It doesn’t mean we have a lack of faith or are being irreverent if we approach Him with them. He invites us to pour out all our confusion to Him, even though He already knows what is bothering us. He may not always give us answers here in this broken world, but He cares about our questions and uses them to help us in mourning our losses.

We can’t always trace God’s hand in events in this world and in our lives, but we can trust His heart. His arms are always open for us to run into and to be embraced to His heart of everlasting, unfailing love. He won’t always answer our questions, but it is His pleasure to give us grace to hold His hand and trust His heart and His infinitely higher thoughts and plan. He won’t always stop the pain, but He will bring beauty out of it in His way and timing. He won’t always fix what’s broken while we’re on this earth, but He gives us the courage to let go of our plans as we surrender to His control and remember His love never fails, no matter what.

We are not alone when we ask God “Why?”

  • When the Israelites wailed and complained and blamed Moses about their plight, Moses was frustrated and asked God, Why have You been so hard on Your servant?” (Numbers 11:11) It’s like he asked, “Here I am serving You, God, so why is all this happening? Why are You laying such a heavy burden on me?” God answered by qualifying others to help Moses carry the burden. The people were still discontent, but God strengthened him to carry on.

  • David asked, “Oh Lord, why do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) He was in deep lament over all the sin and injustice against the innocent, the poor, and the helpless. It seemed God was unconcerned and hiding Himself. Though God didn’t directly mete out the justice right then, He did help David to focus on God’s faithful character as the Helper of the helpless. Someday there will be an end to all the oppression.

  • The prophet Habbakuk’s name means “he who embraces.” It was through grappling with tough questions that he came to a firm faith. In the first chapter, he asked God, “Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habbakuk 1:3) His heart was pained that God wasn’t immediately exacting justice against wrongdoings. He learned that things don’t happen according to our schedule or our plan but only in the way and timing of God.

  • In the anguish of his spirit, Job asked, “Why have You made me Your target?” (Job 7:20) He lost all his children and his possessions. He acknowledges he is not sinless, even though he had a close relationship with God, but he can’t understand why it seems God is destroying him. Though Job didn’t get his children back and He would continue to feel the loss, God eventually gave him more children and more possessions than before. God restored his spirit and gave him grace to go on, and his faith became even deeper through this devastating trial.

  • The most remarkable question of all was by Jesus who took our place and suffered for our sins. In the deepest soul anguish ever, He cried out to His Father, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) He didn’t just “feel” like God forsook Him like we sometimes do. He really was forsaken. For us. Now even when it “feels” like God has abandoned us, we have the steadfast promise that He never will.

God gives us these stories and so many more to shine like beacons of hope that we are not alone. He will always be with us, even when it seems like He’s not.

Why God?

Before Austin sings this song, he shares how God showed him that it’s okay to ask Him the hard questions.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me,
all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.‘”
Matthew 11:28

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

Finding God’s Peace Through a Painful Journey

Last month an online friend, Lois, traveled through our city, and I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting her in person. When she gifted me with her book, Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey, I had no idea how much it would impact me.

It was truly a God-nudge that prompted her to give it to me as she didn’t know that God planted my children in my heart, not in my belly.

Lois wrote of her painful journey through infertility and the Biblical truths that helped her to find God’s peace in the midst of it. I would recommend this book to anyone going through infertility. But not only to those, but to all who are struggling with losses, whatever they may be. The Biblical truths God binds upon her heart are relevant to any trials and struggles we have in life.

I was captivated already from the beginning when I identified with what God spoke to her heart:

“Do you trust Me to know what
I’m doing with your life?
When you want to do it your own way,
when you start doubting My faithfulness,
when you start comparing yourself to others…
do you trust Me?” (p 11)

I’m sharing just a few of the Biblically-based truths and advice I gleaned that are invaluable to remember in every struggle or loss we may have:

God cares about our feelings. He wants us to face them. He can handle any emotion we have. Even the writers of Scripture freely shared their feelings.

 A solid starting point in our journey is to see God as He is. He is in control of everything and His plan for our lives is good because He is good. When something bad happens in our lives, it doesn’t mean He is punishing us or doesn’t love us anymore.

Praying Christ’s prayer “opens the door for the peace of God” and lays the groundwork that will enable us to make the right choices.

“Father, if You are willing,
take this cup from Me;
yet not My will,
but Yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

Look for God-sightings, “those often-overlooked little events and moments that gently remind us that our heavenly Father still loves us and is still working.”

Remember God has a different story for each of us. He knows what growth plan is best for us. (The comparison trap is easy to fall into.)

“And my primary job, as the main character in my story,
is to focus on Jesus, not on anyone else.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Express your anger to God above all and to someone you trust, so you don’t internalize it. Many people mean well by giving advice, opinions, or bits of spiritual wisdom, but others are simply insensitive and non-empathetic.

“But you can either turn yourself into a victim
who takes offense at every wrong word,
or you can allow your circumstances to
make you more assertive, more gracious,
or more patient with others.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Obsession with a dream or desire can lead to idolatry, placing our relationship with Christ on the back burner.

Do what’s best for you and your emotional intelligence. It’s okay to stay away from places that trigger pain.

It’s not all about us. Beware of self-absorption.

God never turns His back on us.

“He didn’t turn His back on me when I was hurting,
but He didn’t let my tears change His mind
about what He had in store for me, either.
And somehow – only by His infinite
mercy and grace, I’m sure –
I was okay with that.”
~ Lois Flowers ~

Letting go of a dream and grieving what we miss does not mean we have a lack of faith or are weak.

Jesus always understands. He asked God three times for another way, but the answer was NO.

“We despised Him and rejected Him
—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief…
Yet it was our grief He bore,
our sorrows that weighed Him down.”
Isaiah 53: 3-4

Your Ways Are Higher Than Mine
by the Collingsworth Family

“It’s not what I prayed for
It’s not what I wanted
It’s not something I understand
My circumstances seem so confusing
I’m placing it all in Your hands

Your ways are higher than mine
I want mountains to move
You want me to climb
So I’m gonna trust Your work, Your will, and Your time
Your ways are higher than mine…”