People everywhere are struggling, some massively. Pain assaults us on every level—rejection, loss, sorrow, guilt, physical issues, heartbreak, failure, financial crises, hurt, disappointment, shattered dreams, tragedy—the complexity of life's issues sap our strength and joy; questions for which there seem to be no answers leave us in a haunting despair. And if that's not enough, the “what-if's” awaiting us about tomorrow leave us frightened and frantic. Depending on our personality, we deal with this stuff differently: push it down out of sight and hide it under a smile; express it in violence; turn to various addictions; call it something else and pretend it doesn't exist; or lash out in blame.
I've drunk from the cup of each of these hurts sometime in my life. Probably most of us have. I thought I would never recover from some of them. But I can truthfully say that even though I don't have answers for some of the more heart-lacerating imponderables of this life, I have peace.
I am a Christian, have been most of my life. That fact has not sheltered me from deep and soul-searching troubles, nor do I sit in an ivory tower hiding behind what I sure-hope-is-true-because-if-it-isn't-I'm-in-trouble denial. The tragic and untimely deaths of two precious souls in my life this year have brought me back once again to face one of the stark realities of this life. I ache at their losses, grieve for their families.
But the bottom line for me is this: I believe what the God of the universe has revealed about Himself—He is good, He is always good, and He is worthy of my trust. Period. Just because I don't understand everything about how things work in the unseen, doesn't mean I should reduce and define Him by that. He requires faith to walk with Him, not understanding.
It sure isn't easy. But I wouldn't respect a God who treated me like a puppet, programming me and filling me with a party line that would assure my loyalty and obedience. Instead, without apology, He invites me to know Him on His terms, which may or may not give me the answers I want right now. I can accept or reject that invitation, with all its accompanying implications. I accepted that invitation—and have found that truly, He is all that He claims to be and more. I can't imagine life without His love and protection and healing. It's real.
Perhaps you serve a different god. Or maybe you're angry at the God of the Bible and feel He has failed you. Maybe you think He's the cause of all the bad things in your life and the world, the great sword-holder waiting to cut you down with the next blow. But what if He isn't?
If you're desperate, I invite you to be honest and consider these questions, with a humble heart and an open mind. What if He is all that He says He is? What do you have to lose?
~ Is your god good, really good? Mine is.
- “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
- “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
~ Does your god love you? Does he want you so much that he'll move heaven and earth to find you? Mine does.
- “For God so loved the world (me, you) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
- “God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.” I John 4:9
- "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3
~ Does your god know all about your sins and failings – and love you anyway? Mine does.
- “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
~ Does your god take care of you? Does he even know what you're going through? Does he heal your broken heart? Can he? Mine does.
- “...casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up the wounds...His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:3, 5
~ Does your god explain how to live so that nothing can shake you? Mine does.
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct* your paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6 (*direct means to make straight, right, and good)
- “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
I have come to love this God with every fiber of my being—because I've found Him to be life in my death-things and my brokenness. He has changed me from a fearful, suspicious, grieving soul to a healed heart who has found wholeness in His love.
I pray you find Him the same. Truly, He is the Prince of Peace.