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Life Issues

It's a question that must be asked by just about everyone at some time in our lives. Whether the circumstances are on an international scale involving pain and suffering (massive earthquakes killing thousands, conflicts and wars and all the incredible death and destruction that results) or if those circumstances are at a personal or family level (the pain and suffering brought on through disease, accidents and the like), the question cannot be avoided....

"Where is (was) God in all this?

But that's not my question. I know the answer to that question. God was right there when all this pain and suffering was birthed. He was present simply because He is God. He knew it was coming. He was there when it happened. He is there in the aftermath. No, I know the answer to the "where" question.

My question is, "Why didn't God do something to change those destructive circumstances?" Or, to bring it into the present, "Why doesn't He intervene and reverse that damaging situation?" So, for me, I'm stuck with the "Why" question. And it is made the more frustrating because I happen to believe that nothing is too hard for the Lord. He is able to act and He has the power to intervene, neutralize the pain and suffering and bring healing, peace and salvation.

If God was not all powerful and was limited in His ability to act, then I would know the answer to the "Why?" question. It would be that the situation was beyond His capacity to act. The situation was too big for Him to cope.

I've been thinking lately about the cry of Jesus from the Cross. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" In some form or other, sooner or later, once of often, all of us will ask that question. It may burst from our hearts because of what we see happening in the lives of others or in our own lives.

It seems to me that Jesus, in the midst of the kind of suffering that none of us will ever experience, was not struggling with the "Where?" question. The fact that such a cry penetrated the darkness suggests to me that Jesus knew that His Father was there despite His sense of being forsaken.

Jesus was struggling with the "Why?" question. You have no idea how that releases and liberates me to ask that same question. Like you, I have seen circumstances in the lives of others that empower the question, "Why?" The death of a child, the suffering of disease, the traffic accident that left someone a quadriplegic, the husband who abandoned his family...the list is almost endless. So if God was present in all these situations and He has the power to change them, "Why did He not act?"

Or consider the big picture - the international landscape with its wars and rumours of war, the droughts that devastate the countryside, the atrocities which plague the conscience of normal people. The cry goes up from Christian and non-Christian alike, "WHY?"

Those of you who follow our journey via this link well know that Bev and I live with Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's Disease. I think we are entitled to ask the "why?" question. It's about now that I'd like to tell you that God has heard and answered our prayer. That's what I'd like to do!! Well, God has heard our prayer but He has remained silent on the "why?" question.

He knows the answer but He's not telling

We live with the silence of heaven on this subject. Mind you, God does speak to us about other aspects of this journey. We have been reassured by numerous promises of His presence. But He's not answering the "why?" question. Not yet, anyway.

Maybe He will one day. Maybe He won't.

Meantime we have no other options but to live with the silence and the tension which that silence sometimes generates in our hearts. (Well, in my heart anyway. Bev seems more relaxed with the silence than I am.) Yet maybe choosing to live with the tension is a legitimate expression of faith?

Having said there are no other options, that's not exactly correct. I can think of at least two.

[1] We can abandon our profession of faith.

For some people this is the only way they can resolve their painful dilemma and maintain some measure of integrity - i.e. being honest with their inner conflict. They choose either to no longer believe in God as they have been taught to understand Him and/or to walk away because He has not met their expectations.

[2] They can adopt a posture of pretence.

 They become "spiritual" and begin making excuses for God. They offer a range of possible reasons as to that silence from heaven - often accompanied by Scripture verses removed from their context and made to say things that were never intended. Theirs is an unwillingness to face reality. Despite what appears to be they are basically dishonest. Given time, they will probably join the ranks of those in category [1] above.

However, I can tell you one sure result of living with that silence from heaven regarding the "Why?" question. Faith will be refined and strengthened. Trust will deepened. Prayer will mature as we learn to listen rather do all the talking. The awareness of God's presence in that silence will - slowly at first - become richer.

[Hey, look again at that last paragraph. Maybe there are some clues as to God's answer about His silence  - were He to give one ]

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