I am sick today...a weak kitten sitting in my chair with nothing but time...a rare gift. Not the flu of course but the time.
Given time I think about my blog site and how life has stolen most every moment working at a business I neither love, nor care to do, yet here I am stuck on a treadmill running way to fast. Commitment dictates I stay the course but...
I ask God why? Why, when I would rather be writing, am I cleaning out parts in a stinky machine shop breathing in toxic fumes? Why did I have to lose my financial security? Why when I wanted a perfect marriage did I receive the heartache and disappointment of infidelity? Why did I have 5 years of undiagnosed pain, only to find out that a simple surgery could have saved me that horror? Why as a child did I suffer physical and mental abuse? Why, why, why?
Does God give a stone when we ask for bread?
Does God grow silent at times we need him most?
Does God care about the details of this often sad and tortured world?
The answer to that is an emphatic yes, but...it is all in our understanding.
Why would a God who could prevent suffering allow it?
I just finished reading a book I highly recommend called Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. I both love and hate this book, as he tears apart these difficult questions and answers them in a less than pleasurable way. He states that having God make us feel good and give us pleasurable experiences with a pain free existence is not God's primary goal. From my life experiences I can do no less than agree with him. From looking at the life of the prophets in the Bible and the disciples, this thinking lines up with Scripture.
There is something incredibly humbling, life changing and powerful that happens in suffering if we turn toward God not against Him. An unquenchable desire for God above all other dreams or desires emerges and all other good things in life take a secondary roll. It is how God planned it should be...Him first, family second and all other pursuits there after.
In our north American Christian culture we flock in the thousands to churches that preach only a God who allows blessings and these blessings are described as the world would understand blessings...financial security, health, children doing great etc. But what happens when a child gets cancer, or a spouse cheats, or a loved one dies, or...(you place your shattered dream here)??? What then??? Is God any less God? Is He any less loving? Have you done something bad to deserve such trauma. The answer to that is an emphatic NO.
What God is doing within you when he allows suffering is neither comfortable, nor palatable to a world that seeks pleasure as its number one objective. Look at Jesus, God used death on the cross to give forgiveness, He used suffering to provide the most incredible gift of all.
I highly recommend reading Larry Crabb's book on this subject for a far better explanation than I could ever give, but this one thing I know with all my heart. Suffering has been a gift I would never have asked for, nor one I enjoyed, but a gift never-the-less. I now know with a certainty that I never had before, that no matter what life throws my way I have nothing to fear. God is with me and He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more for me than I can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20.
And so I go to work six long days a week with a different attitude...I ask God each day, I am here, now what? Give purpose to my day.