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

Reflections and Comfort In the Midst of a Crisis and St. Patrick Quotes

We’re in the midst of a crisis in our nation and in the world that is causing devastating effects in so many areas of life and for so many people. All because of a virus that is causing sickness and death throughout the world and seems to be unstoppable.

It’s surely a wake-up call, isn’t it? Does God have the first place in our hearts? Do we trust Him as the King who has control, even when fear and troubles threaten to drown us?

Sometimes we may wonder why God doesn’t stop these things. Does God really care about us? Yes, He does! If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have created us or sacrificed His own life for us.

Following Jesus will never keep us from getting sick or dying. But He has promised He will be with us no matter what happens. And through trials, He teaches us to depend more on Him, lean into Him, and allow Him to be first in our hearts and lives.

As the coronavirus spreads quickly, may we not lose heart…

“I have told you all this
so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT

♥ ♥ ♥

Jesus replied,
“You do not realize now
what I am doing, but
later you will understand.”
John 13:7

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Parades and activities have been cancelled, but I don’t think St. Patrick would have minded. He didn’t strive for “man’s empty praise.” (Hymn – Be Thou My Vision) By God’s grace, His Treasure was in Christ Jesus, and his life pointed not to himself but to Christ and the hope and salvation we can find in Him.

St. Patrick Quotes

“I have a Creator who knew all things,
even before they were made –
even me, his poor little child.”
“I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me afar and anear,
alone or in a multitude.”
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

Amretasgraphics – Homemade with Love and a Happy Heart

Be Thou My Vision
Irish Hymn Sung by 4Him

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all”

God the Holy Spirit as Interpreter

dove

In the early 1980s, I taught 1st grade in a Dutch community in Canada. Because I didn’t know Dutch and the other first-grade teacher did, the principal purposely placed new immigrants in my class.

I vividly remember petite, blond-haired Janita who was shy and sensitive. I tried the best I could to make her feel loved and welcomed, but one day when I was telling the Bible story, she broke down and cried.  I knew she must feel alone and overwhelmed.  She longed to understand what I was saying, but how could I comfort her other than giving her a hug?

I asked my students if any of them could translate English into Dutch for her, and Jeffrey quickly volunteered.  I told him bit by bit what I wanted to tell Janita. I was deeply touched by how he also communicated my compassion.  Leaning over her as she sat at her desk, he rattled off in Dutch that it would be very hard to learn English, but we would help her all we can, and she soon would understand what we were saying.

I still see Janita wiping the tears from her cheeks with her hands as a smile of trust beamed at me.  By the end of the year, she blossomed not only as a speaker of English but as a sweet, bubbly child.

I will always carry a photo in my memory of Jeffrey and how he interpreted not only my words but also my feelings. My God-sent little interpreter.

It brings to mind another Interpreter. Our Holy Spirit God. One who understands us so deeply that He truly empathizes with all our feelings. He knows how stuck we get sometimes. When words can’t express our feelings. When we feel so alone. Does anyone understand? Does anyone know how this feels? Does anyone hear our sighs, groans, and cries?

Yes! God does! His Holy Spirit speaks for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. He interprets even the deepest feelings of our hearts to our Father God. With endless compassion, He pleads for us.

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.
  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.
  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings
  that cannot be expressed in words.
  And the Father who knows all hearts
  knows what the Spirit is saying,
  for the Spirit pleads for us believers
  in harmony with God’s own will."
  Romans 8:26-27 NLT

God hears. He understands. He cares. Deeply with a bottomless, unfailing, and compassionate love.

The Holy Spirit dwells within us to interpret our needs to our Father, but He also translates God’s Word to our hearts. In a personal way that we can understand.

As the Holy Spirit does His work in our hearts, He opens the door of HOPE. And like Janita, we can wipe our tears away and look up to Him with a smile of peace and trust that He is with us no matter what, He will help us get through our troubles, and He will someday enlighten our understanding of what doesn’t make sense right now.

Jesus said:
"But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, 
Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby),
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name
[in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf],
He will teach you all things. And He will
help you remember everything that I have told you.
Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.
[Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance
and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]
John 14:26-27 AMP 

doveandrainbow

A Child's Trust

“Spirit of the Living God”
by Meredith Andrews