We’ve been flooded lately with news stories that scare and surprise us and cause us to reflect on the “why?” behind them: Baton Rouge, Nice, Dallas, Orlando, Zika. And even in Frankenmuth or wherever you may live, life can be distressing and uncertain. You thought you had all the safety nets in place that you𠆝 need: financial, emotional, spiritual. You were wrong. One precious to you is walking a dangerous path. Your job has been terminated. Your health has suddenly taken a turn. Your loved one is gone. Your whole life seems turned on its head. Your faith itself is in doubt.
What to do?! Try as you might to return to normalcy, that’s often not possible. You, your outlook on the world, your faith in people, in their promises, in the future you envisioned, your certainty in your safety and security – these have all been shaken. To simply buck up and smile and “get over it” isn’t going to happen. It takes stronger medicine than that. You’ve been affected and injured in ways that can’t be undone.
As one involved in spiritual care, I’m often asked the question, “Why?! Why now? Why this?” It’s a question to which I wish I knew the answer. It’s a question I ask myself. When the world and even my little part of it doesn’t seem a just place, my spirit cries out, in the words of the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13)
Those questions are not answered in a direct way even in the Scriptures; however some words of comfort and hope are offered. The end of the above Psalm says, 𠇋ut I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” These are words offered not because the psalmist has been rescued and all is well. These are words of commitment, with God as the focus. “I have trusted (the past); my heart shall rejoice (the future) … in YOUR love and salvation.” In another Psalm, the psalmist draws on personal experience: “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. … The Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints” (Psalm 37).
God’s justice and salvation are seen most clearly in God’s Son, Jesus. Jesus suffered and died to pay for all injustice – yours, too – and to bring you without fear into the presence of your holy God. And so your heart can also rejoice in God’s love and salvation that are yours by faith, and will surely be revealed in their fullness at the Last Day. Know that your God will walk with you and not forsake you even in the most difficult times.
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