Have you ever struggled to understand what is from God and what is not? Ever thought… “God, you would never let me feel this much pain. This must be from Satan.” I want to be explicitly clear in saying I believe God can turn ashes into beauty no doubt. The question is: Did God make these ashes?
Tragedy after tragedy continue to overtake the world. Some people and communities are directly impacted to the extent of disbelief. Right now our little community in South Carolina is taking a lot of hits. I find myself questioning and struggling to find the peace that surpasses all understanding like I think I should. My guess is others may be doing the same.
It is no secret we live in a completely fallen and broken world. Children being shot and killed, suffering and passing away from cancer, breaking bones, and feeling fearful of death are all proof of the brokenness. These are just a few examples of the direct impact of pain-staking blows our community have recently been suffering. Not to mention, a dear friend and teacher’s brush with death after a stroke that came out of the blue. Bad news after bad news after bad news. And then a major hurricane!
How do we sort this all out and understand why God keeps letting this happen to and around us? Is it God’s way of creating pain beyond belief so that we have no choice but to lean on Him? Or is it His way of testing our faith to see if we fight or flee? Is He that kind of God? Does he need to test us? Does He need to let bad things happen to good people for any good reason at all?
These are common questions for times like these. There are no answers I can give that will satisfy any understanding because I am not only human. And so are you. It is okay to question. It is okay to struggle. I give you that permission today. However, I will gently remind you. He is a God of mercy. He is God of all things good and bad. He already knows the response to these tribulations that test our faith. He was, is, and is yet to come. Praise Jesus.
When you find yourself feeling hopeless, look around. Look at the slew of people coming together to comfort and honor the families of those suffering the most. Look around and the vast number of people praying and turning to God for peace. No need to stay in the valley when there are fellow Christians with their arms extended and hands open ready to lock in with yours if you will just take it. You are not alone.
We do not have the ability to sort the pain into categories of what is from God and from Satan. Nor do we need to attempt to. Our hope is in the Lord. Our answers are in His Word. The tests are not answered with A, B, C or D choices, true or false, or written essays. A true testament of faith is believing in the hope not the answers. In the abstract not the concrete. Instead of trying to sort the pain to understand it, rest in the hope of these promises.
1 John 2:25 NIV “And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
Isaiah 49:25 “I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”
Luke 18:27 Jesus replied “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”