Recently, I have heard a lot of bad news.
Really hard, difficult, real things going on in the lives of people I love and care about and if I am being honest, it has really tested my faith.
Not tested me in a way that ever made me doubt whether God existed, but rather challenged me in how I would move forward and respond to these situations.
We all know life is tough.
But when something like your grandfather is diagnosed with cancer, your friend overdoses on drugs and tragically leaves the world a few days after you last saw them or your once hopelessly-in-love parents decide to get a divorce a fight a custody battle, life gets really real, really fast.
The rainbow, happy-go-lucky, faith is no longer good enough.
Memorizing scriptures no longer seems to fill that emptiness inside.
And it all just feels wrong and confusing.
“Why, Jesus?….I don’t understand”, we ask Him as we plead and we cry for all of this to just be over with.
But it is in our “Why Jesus?” moments that I believe we discover who Jesus really and truly is.
When I look back on these moments in my life, I can literally feel the chill that overcame my body when I learned of tragedies in my family and of my friends and faced my own personal sadness and struggles. In these moments, I had no words to say and no response that seemed worthy or adequate to share. I felt confused and broken and hurt.
“I thought life was supposed to be good?”, I would think to myself.
And in the midst of me searching for the “why”, I was reminded of the “who”.
I was reminded that life was never meant to be understood, predictable or just. It was never promised to be free of pain or heartache; in fact, Jesus promised us that we would face trouble. It was never supposed to be easy.
The truth is, people do not search for God in the “easy” moments.
But when their world is rocked, they return to their knees and they are reminded of the “who”. Because the truth is, that is literally the purpose and cry of our hearts whether we realize it or not- to know HIM.
And in those “Why?” moments, it is then that we seek and we find Him. It is then that our shallow, Bible-study Jesus is transformed into the loving, constant and powerful Father.
Because when you go through the tough stuff, your perspective changes. Either you grow closer to God or you run away from Him. It’s never neutral.
But as I learn and grow older, I am so thankful for those moments and those days that my heart ran towards Jesus with every single bone in my body because I was terrified of life.
I knew I couldn’t handle it and I knew that He could.
On my knees, out of sheer desperation, is where I learned what peace really looks and feels like. It feels like a relationship with the Father. A relationship that grows deeper with every trial it encounters because the human heart learns that the heart of the Father is true, it is pure, it is good and it is loving.
Please do not think I am making light of your pain. I do not know your situation, your struggle or your story. But I do know our God and I am making great of Him.
The pain is still very real and the tragedy sometimes keeps us up at night.
But as we seek Him and as we ask Him, “Why, Jesus? I don’t understand”, He scoops us up and reminds us of His heart.
He weeps with us. He relates to our heart. He passionately listens to our fears and our pain. He meets us where we are and He speaks to us there in a way that only He can- in a way that our suffering heart can hear- as He says, “But…my child…remember I am God.”
And it is there and only there that we find peace beyond understanding.
Our desperation leads to deliverance and discovery. Deliverance from our hopelessness and discovery of the One in whom our hope is found.
Praying for you, friends! I know the Holidays bring memories of heartache and sadness for some as we reflect on those we wish were still here and the circumstances we still do not comprehend; however, I pray that in our “Why, Jesus?” moments, we nestle close to His heart and remember who He is.
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” -Isaiah 41:10