This Beautiful Mess

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.

Tension hurts.

“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)

4 thoughts on “This Beautiful Mess

  1. frogsview

    Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out.

    I'm afraid that unless someone has had to walk down that road they frankly just don't understand.

    When God's answer to our prayer is 'No' it is very hard for us, especially when that 'no' means that our loved one dies, or that our loved one suffers in some way.

    Pat, plastic answers in the face of suffering do not go very far.
    I believe a resolve needs to stir inside of us that says, "I will trust in the Lord no matter what, whether things make sense or turn out well or poorly."

    If we have an inner resolve that He is in charge, that He is trustworthy, and that He sees the big picture, surely that will help us.

    Word from our friend Job on this;
    "Though He slay me yet will I trust Him…" (Job 13:15a NKJV)

    Job was one who knew quite well the suffering, yet He trusted God in the middle of it.

    Reply
  2. Kelli

    That sounds like a good book! It's funny how for some reason we all think following Jesus will be easy. That somehow we will get a free pass from pain and hardship. The times I feel most intimate with God are the scary times. The times only He can provide resolution. The times I couldn't have done it on my own. Enjoyed reading today…;)

    Reply
  3. Fields of gold

    wow, that is articulated so well. thank you for posting that! i have struggled with questions for the Lord over the last year. This post says my thoughts exactly!

    i post for the proverbs 31 ministries facebook page. would you mind if i link to this post sometime??

    Reply
  4. Eileen

    Wow, of course you can! Yes, I think that is why it stuck with me too. The author does such a good job at taking questions we have and addressing them so honestly.

    Reply

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