This past weekend, my husband attended the funeral of a young man who died in the prime of his life. Often tragedies like this can lead us to question why. Why would God allow someone to die when it seems like there is so much of his life yet to be lived? Perhaps you have had similar questions about circumstances in your life:
Why did this happen to me?
Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
Why didn’t God rescue me out of my misery?
The problem of pain and suffering is an age-old philosophical question. In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Job who found himself in the midst of struggling to understand why. His vibrant, fruitful world came to a crashing halt when God allowed him to suffer the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. He couldn’t understand why this would happen to him especially because he was a noble and upright man.
God lovingly responded to Job’s unsettled questions. Instead of explaining the reasons Job suffered, God kindly directed Job back to an authentic trust in a God he could not understand. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” God led Job to a deeper understanding of His almighty power and omniscience, helping Job see that God’s ways are far beyond human comprehension. Job finally declared to God, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”
We must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God even though we don’t understand His ways? It’s hard, I know. Direct answers would be much nicer. How do we grow to the point of trust? How can we rest in the arms of a loving God when we can’t understand why he allows certain difficulties in our life? Just as a child would rest in the arms of a loving parent, so we can come to a place of resting in God’s care as we grow to love Him as our Father. Certainly we cannot know all the answers, but as we begin to get to know who God is – that He is a good, kind and loving Father, we develop a trust for the God who loves us. In Job’s response, notice he said he had heard about God, but now he has seen Him with his eyes. Job moved from a point of knowing about God, to a place of truly experiencing Him.
Job was able to put his trust in a God who had become real to him, not just someone he had heard about.The same is true with us. We can find people’s opinions about God from books, commentaries, editorials, and even sermons on Sundays, but we must get to know Him for ourselves. A search for knowing the true God will lead us to see his faithfulness and love. It’s one thing to know about God in a distant sort of way; it is another thing to experience Him up close and personal.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If we begin to worship and come to God again and again by meditating, by reading, by prayer; and by obedience, little by little God becomes known to us through experience. We enter into a sweet familiarity with God, and by tasting how sweet the Lord is we pass into . . . loving God, not for our own sake, but for Himself.” We can fall into the arms of a God whom we know and love, but it is difficult to trust someone we do not know personally.
Where do we begin our journey of knowing Him? The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself. We read about His power, His goodness, His sovereignty and His unfailing Love in the pages of this magnificent book. Seek to know Him, not simply to know about Him. Draw close to Him. Open the Bible, and as you do, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a very real way. He loves you and invites you to know Him personally.
To chat with someone about a relationship with Christ, go to: www.chataboutjesus.com
A portion of this blog is from Karol’s book, Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive.