Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When God doesn't make sense

We've had many heartaches in our family and friends' lives in the past few months. It seems like a constant bombarding of pain on a regular basis. Our hearts ache and grieve for every one of those we love who experience such sadness. I know the Lord is good and faithful, but it is still hard to hear of bad news over and over again. As Pastors we especially grieve because we care so much about those around us. We long for them to feel the comfort of the Lord and know He is near! We ourselves have also gone through our share of discouragement in the past.

I have had about 3 major crises of faith in my life where I experienced so much pain that I felt like I could hardly go on. In each circumstance I was tempted to shout with anger at God and harden my heart, but instead I chose to trust in Him and cry out with a broken but humbled heart. It's not easy to go through trials for no apparent reason. But as a believer is it crucial that we always trust the Lord will work all things together for good. For this reason I have clung to the verse in Deuteronomy that has become my life motto.

Deuteronomy 29:29- "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law."

As a Pastor's wife I have been reading material over the years that can help equip me for speaking into others' lives, especially in times of pain. One book I am currently reading I have found to be exceptionally well written. I cry every time I read it. I am not finished with it yet because I am slowly digesting it, page by page. I usually rip through books in only a few days, but this one has taken me months. One chapter gives me enough meat to chew on for weeks.

In this time of great sorrow for some dear friends of ours who we found out today lost their baby one week before birth, I felt prompted to write about this book I've been reading. It is called When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson. If you or someone you know is or has struggled with pain and heartache (which is all of us, really), then I highly recommend reading this book. Dr. Dobson is real, compassionate, honest, transparent, and yet he brings the Scriptures to life as he encourages us all to continue trusting in the Lord when pain knocks at our door. Here is a bit about the book:

When we are young and health is good and we have not yet encountered disease, disappointment, and sorrow, it is easy to believe that life will always be rather carefree and happy. But every person who lives long enough will eventually experience difficulties that are not easy to understand. At those times the pieces simply will not fit, and God just doesn't make sense.

Most of us are inclined in those moments to struggle with the most troubling question in human experience: "Why did God let this happen to me?"

When we are entangled in life's crises, it is common to feel great frustration with God. Our inability to figure out what He is doing creates the greatest agitation. The "Why?" question, which even Jesus asked from the cross, is often left unanswered for years or perhaps for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, some believers are so shaken by their inability to understand that they feel a profound sense of abandonment by God. This "betrayal" barrier" is a dangerous weapon used against us. Satan wants each of us to feel that our compassionate Lord has actually singled us out for abuse!

When God Doesn't Make Sense is addressed lovingly to those who have been left confused and disillusioned by life's difficulties. It is intended to nurture the faith of the wounded and the downhearted, and to prevent disillusionment in those who have not fallen into the clutches of despair.

In this book Dr. Dobson weaves together personal experiences with the wisdom of Scripture, which offers great insight into the trials of life and how to cope with them. A proper understanding of these biblical principles can expose false expectations that inevitably collide with reality in a sinful and fallen world.

The Lord has assured us that we are in His constant care. We can trust Him even when our difficult circumstances are beyond human comprehension. We can rest in His promise:

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalms 34:18)

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