I love the arrival of Spring! I love the colors after the drabness of winter. I love the warmth after the cold. I love the life after a season of frozen sleep. But it also has some hard.
My boys’ trees bloom so beautifully each year… a weeping cherry for Peter and a Kwanzan cherry for Andrew. So precious. So sweet. And yet hard because Mother’s Day is coming. It never gets easier folks.
So I am always looking, reading, training myself on suffering and hard and how to keep perspective. Recently I read a chapter called “The Cry for a Reason for Suffering” in Ravi Zacharias’ book Cries of the Heart. He walks us through Job’s story, the Bible’s thesis on suffering. He describes four main conclusions Job learns throughout his experience. And as I read through them, I realized they were matched my four foundational lessons as well.
Knowing so many friends and family that are hurting and struggling right now, I thought we’d go through them one at a time. Maybe one will speak to you, if not all of them. Maybe they will just prepare you to comfort and journey with a friend…
Most people who teach on Job readily acknowledge that God never really answers Job’s main question of why. Instead He answers questions with questions. And everyone I’ve read or heard basically came to the same conclusion that God is bigger than us, beyond us, Sovereign, and we must simply trust His plan. But I will be honest and admit that I was unsatisfied with that in light of losing my boys. How could a loving God reply like that to my pain? No parent I know would answer their child in such a way.
Finally, RZ helped me grasp a fuller understanding of God’s response. He states,
Job has built his whole argument on the fact that he needed to know what was going on, because only on the basis of that knowledge could his confusion be dissipated. God reminded him, as a first step and only that, that there were a thousand and one things he did not fully understand but had just taken for granted.
And I understood that just as I had to trust God for the limits of the ocean, the rising of the sun, the happenings of everyday life I could not explain, I too had to trust God’s control with my boys’ lives and homecomings.
But RZ also explained this was only a first step. Did you see that? He continues,
Yes, God challenged Job to admit his limitation and to allow God to be God. God insists that those limitations do and must exist.
But God takes Job beyond just making him think it was all too vast for him. (PRAISE GOD!) What God wanted him to realize was that this same God who brought such pattern and beauty into a world He had fashioned out of nothing could also bring a pattern and beauty out of Job’s brokenness.
That, my friend, is the revelation I needed, the missing piece in this confrontation with Sovereignty. I cannot deny that this is still hard. It’s hard to accept. It’s hard to trust when the pain is so great, the struggle so long. But I can attest over these 15 years since Andrew’s been gone, the 5 years since Peter went home, this is truth. This is the redemption of God in action… working to turn evil into good, brokenness into wholeness, pain into joy, sorrow into praise. This is what keeps happening in my life.
I can say that now, so many years later. But I must remind myself of it often. And if you are in a place where you hear it but struggle to receive it, I get that. I needed more and RZ provides that, nicely summarizing major lessons I needed to understand to fully embrace today’s truth.
So join me on Friday, and again next week as we continue building this foundation- one strong enough on which to stand no matter the storm.