Faithfully Yours - Haunting words


Neil Strohschein
The Neepawa Banner

The words haunt me to this day. They came from a very distraught mother. Two years earlier her oldest son had been murdered. When I met her, she had just received the news that her youngest son had been killed when the vehicle in which he was a passenger had been involved in an accident. She was desperately trying to make sense out of what had happened to her family.

These were her words: “Why is God doing this to us?” I couldn’t answer her question then and I can’t answer it now—at least not in the way that she wanted me to answer it.
Many of the questions we ask assume things about God that simply aren’t true. For example, God doesn’t speak to people and tell them to commit acts of violence or murder. They do that on their own and one day, every one of them will answer to God for what they have done.

As for the accident that took the life of this woman’s youngest son, it was just that—an accident; and accidents can happen to anyone at any time, as we all know.
Perhaps this grief-stricken mom was really asking the same question that one of Jesus’ friends, a lady named Martha asked after her brother Lazarus had died. Her first words when she saw Jesus were: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died;” which is another way of saying: “Lord, you knew he was sick. You could have done something to keep him from dying. Why didn’t you?” (Read the whole story in John chapter 11)

That question is somewhat easier to answer. God is sovereign. He can do anything he chooses to do. He could have healed Lazarus and kept him from dying. He also could have prevented the tragedies that took the lives of the two young men mentioned above.
But that’s not how God operates. He allows nature to take its course. People are born. People get sick. People die. People are murdered. People’s lives are taken in accidents. These are common occurrences. They have happened to others. We should not be surprised, nor should we be angry with God if they happen to us, or to someone we know and love.

Instead, we can always draw comfort from knowing that God is with us at all times and in all of the trials and struggles we face. He comes to us with the assurance that he is our refuge, our strength and our very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
God doesn’t go around causing problems for people. We are quite capable of doing that on our own; and given the political, economic, social and moral mess in which we find ourselves, I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job of it.

Don’t expect things to change any time soon. We are facing challenges that took us hundreds of years to create. They won’t be solved overnight. The uncertainty caused by these problems will remain with us for generations to come.

But so will the evidence of God’s faithfulness. The sun will continue to rise and set. The seasons will each come in order. Governments will come to power and fall from power. We will each have our fair share of good times and challenges. One day, every one of us will get old, will get sick and die. And God will be there every moment, giving us the wisdom and strength we need to survive and thrive, no matter what life sends us.