I know a lot of people in pain. I don’t mean “I had a bad day” pain. Or “I had a rough month” pain. Or even, “I’m in a tough season” pain. I mean the kind of pain that wrecks your heart, and gnaws at your soul. The kind of pain that seems to rip your insides out and makes you wonder if you will ever recover.
The kind of pain that leaves others wondering how you could ever recover.
In the midst of watching others suffer through life-altering, excruciating pain, I have often wondered what to say.
Job is the go-to book when people are hurting. Because Job is a relatable character when you’re enduring the weight of the world.
I heard someone say recently, that they heard someone else say, that sometimes we have to choose to believe in the goodness of God, even when He is not choosing to directly pour His goodness out on us.
Like choosing to believe the sun still rises somewhere, even if you live in Alaska.
Like choosing to believe that a million dollars does exist, even if you know you will never see that money.
And as much as this is not what we want to hear when we are bearing unbearable burdens, I think sometimes that is the point.
I think somehow the Lord has to teach us to believe the unbelievable qualities about Himself. And sometimes, He does that in our pain.
There are things about the Lord I can’t wrap my mind around. I can’t understand Noah and the ark, and erasing everyone – eliminating all second chances. I can’t quite come to grips with God asking Abraham to sacrifice Issac. I can’t reason how God allows some of the things He allows – Job’s loss and suffering being one of those things. I don’t know how I can believe He is good in my gut, but when I watch some people suffer, I struggle to explain how I believe in His goodness – I don’t know how I can believe something so deeply, to the core of me, but still struggle to explain it.
And for the life of me, I can’t understand Him sending His Son to die. But I am so grateful He did.
All that being said, I do know this: it is easier for me to believe the unbelievable things about God, because I have had to walk through seasons where I chose to believe God was good, even though it did not seem to me that I was a recipient of any of His goodness at that particular point.
I have not had to come to grips with a God who wouldn’t save my mom from cancer – but I have friends who have. And they know the Lord in a way that I haven’t met Him.
I have not had to reconcile a God who loves me, with the same God who would let my child die – but I have friends who have. And they know the richness of His grace in the midst of tragedy in a way I do not.
I know people who have had to know the Lord and believe the Lord through loss and tragedy and through seasons that seemed to never end – and although I won’t say they are better for it, I will say, they know the Lord better for it.
And isn’t that what it is all about?
When He meets us where we’re at, when we have to know Him in unimaginable ways, when we have to believe Him through the unbelievable – that is when we learn to hold onto His goodness with a death grip, even if we don’t feel like we are receiving it.
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5
He is Good.