As we drove to school yesterday morning, my son told me about a friend in his gym class who is struggling with God and doesn’t want to go to church. Sean said that this friend lost his dad to cancer some time in the last year or so. The “why” questions torment him. He told Sean that when he asks people why God would allow his dad to die, they give him all the typical answers about “God having a plan.” Sean told his friend that he didn’t have a good answer for him but would try to find an answer.
This conversation took me back to the early days, months, years after losing my own mom to cancer. I told Sean that I understand his friend’s frustration. When we lose a loved one, the last thing we really want to hear is the “God has a plan” speech. I’ve struggled over the course of the last 24 hours at finding a “tangible” answer to give my son. At this point, my answer comes with years and years of grief walking under my belt.
The answer God gives us to our “why” question is vastly different than the answer we expect or think we need. And yet, it’s 10,000 times better than the answer we expect or think we need. That’s the answer I want my son’s friend to hear, to cling to, to be renewed by and to be comforted by.
The answer, the truth we need to hear, speaks directly to our soul. It’s not tangible (at least not in the sense that we are accustomed to), you can’t hold it, but it’s realer than real.
Years ago I read a book called “Questioning Evangelism” I can’t remember too much of the book but I did write down and keep the following quote about the painful journey Job took.
“God wants us to be healed, not informed, and that takes times…His (Jobs) declaration confirms that, more than the answer to the ultimate ‘why’ question, God wants us to know the answer to the ultimate ‘who’ question.” ~ Randy Newman
I experienced the same confusion as my son’s friend. I asked the same questions. I doubted God’s goodness and, for a time, I ran in a total opposite direction from the answer I needed. It wasn’t until I chose to turn around and pursue Jesus that He started revealing the answers my heart desperately longed for and needed.
Jesus told his disciples “in this life you will have many sorrows and troubles but take heart I have overcome the world.” By choosing Jesus, He has given me the ability to “take heart” and has assured me over and over and over and over of His goodness. I have experienced and reaped the benefits of my My Redeemer doing what My Redeemer does best. This has given me more peace, joy, hope, comfort than ANY answer to ANY of my “why” questions.
I no longer need the answer my soul thought it was looking for. I have the answer my soul needed.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33