People ask, “Why didn’t God heal my friend of cancer?” “How can God allow my home to go into foreclosure?” “Why would God not allow me to have a baby?”
I don’t know why – I won’t pretend I get it.
When someone tries to wrap my pain, my loss in Christian wrapping paper and place a perfect, scripture bow on top, it doesn’t help – it makes me feel alone.
I reached out to you, confessed my difficulty and you can’t fix it. When you offer scripture Pollyanna style, “Romans 8:28!” with a knowing smile, it hurts more.
The Bible doesn’t say, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and toss scripture at those who mourn.”
Throughout the Bible, we see confused people trusting God.
Without knowing why, Noah built a boat for 80 years. “There’s crazy Noah! He’s still building that boat!” People of the Bible endured hardships, death, loss – look at poor Job.
When I read my Bible, I see a God who never abandoned His children. Their suffering and circumstances were always part of a bigger story they didn’t always understand.
One of the Bible people I relate to is Peter. Passionate, impulsive Peter. He jumped out of a boat to walk on water, then sank after he took his eyes off Jesus. He cut off the ear of a soldier defending Jesus, then later denied knowing Him.
When Jesus shared details surrounding His impending death, Peter and Jesus had a moment:
He (Jesus) spoke plainly about this, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when Jesus turned and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter. “Get behind Me, Satan!” He said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but the things of men!”
–Mark 8:33-34 NIV
First, I want to mention Peter rebuked Jesus! My dictionary says rebuke means to speak in an angry and critical way to someone. Peter was scolding Jesus – can you imagine? “Jesus, don’t say that! You’re freaking everyone out! We would never allow that to happen.”
Jesus responds, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Strong words. I bet Peter felt hurt, confused, maybe a little rejected.
How could this death Jesus described be the will of God?
Those who are Believers know the reason Jesus had to die. Peter didn’t understand. Part of what Jesus says to Peter is, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but the things of men!” Put another way, “You are not God.”
I think God’s definition of good is bigger and greater than mine.
Faith is believing God’s promises when I don’t understand – when life doesn’t make sense. He promises hope and a future. He promises to make all things right.
I’ll end with a story my dear friend’s sister tells about a time with God after my friend died of cancer:
“I was looking at the stars because I missed Elaine so much and it was something we did together – star gazing. Through tears I asked God, “Why couldn’t you heal her cancer? I prayed so hard. I trusted you. I don’t understand why you didn’t heal her.”
Her sister says, “In that moment, I felt the words, ‘I did’. For the first time, I realized she really was healed. She wasn’t sick or in pain anymore. She was cancer free. It wasn’t the answer I hoped or prayed for but she was healed. I still miss my sister and think about her every day. I wish she were here – but I know I will see her again.”