I’ve been reading the book, This Beautiful Mess, by Rick McKinley. I keep thinking about something I read in the book last week. I wanted to share the excerpt here. In this portion of the book he is sharing about a time in his life when his son became very sick and spent many days in the hospital. I loved how this author describes the pain and suffering we often experience in our lives that we so often don’t have answers for:
“During those weeks, some well-meaning people gave us the right answers. “God knows what’s happening,” they said. Or, “Josh will be fine because we are praying.” The right answers seem right to say, of course, and seem right when you hear them, but they don’t help much. To be honest, the right answers began to make us angry. Somehow Christians have a hard time saying things like, “I don’t know why the hell this happening or how this will end. You guys must be scared to death.” I guess we all need to be able to explain life down to every last detail even when the answers don’t mean anything to us. We just can’t stand the questions. But in the kingdom of God, I have come to believe, it is all right not to have all the answers, and I think Jesus likes it even more when we don’t make up ones that are safe and easy but hollow.
Just because people prayed did not mean that Josh would be okay.
Just because God knew what was happening didn’t mean I did. Or that I knew how God would intervene for our family.
Just because I knew a bible verse that says God will answer when I pray didn’t mean I wouldn’t lose my kid to some stupid killer infection. His answers are not always my answers.
It’s exactly this type of shallow religion that makes people afraid to walk through the wild and untamed fields of the kingdom of God.
Ever notice? Some people seem to have a Gap version of Christianity- a polished franchise faith where everyone is always winsome and smiling. But I’m not interested. During those days when Josh couldn’t leave the hospital, I was constantly aware that my son could die and that, if he did, I’d never be able to replace him. I believe I was supposed to be aware of that.
My friends Jim and Marilyn lost a son in Iraq. I thought a lot of them during those days in the children’s ward. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up with a good answer for their pain. For the past year, I’ve seen the grief written into their lives. I’ve seen the courage it takes for them just to come to church.
“Our father in heaven,” we plead, “Your kingdom come. Please.”
From: This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley.
Pain and suffering stinks. Grief stinks. There, I’ve said it. Sometimes we search for a reason and the reason never becomes obvious. Sometimes I just have to trust that God made me a promise that despite my circumstances, He would never leave me. Sometimes I just have to hold on to and remind myself that God was faithful yesterday and He will be faithful tomorrow. His love for me never changes.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)