Posted by: JennyRain | July 10, 2009

Conversations with God

If God provides for the needs of all of His children, why am I watching so many of my friends suffer right now?

In this past year, difficult situations in the lives of my friends have caused my theology to cramp. I tend to be pretty simple when it comes to life – just tell me how things work and I’ll follow the procedure, tell me what to do and I will do it, if there is a process or standard for the way things should progress – just let me know! I want to know how to get from point A to B the simplest way possible, skip all the drama, and just GET there for goodness sakes. I am a Git-er-done kinda gal.

Most of my girlfriends have the same mentality too. Thankfully, I do not have a lot of drama-queens in my life. They are functional-whiners, which I can live with. If they whine, its for a purpose, it has a finite-duration, and they are quickly focused on a solution. No kicking-legs-lazy-summer-afternoon complainers in my camp!

At work, I am blessed to work for a group of male leaders who focus on solutions to problems and do not hover around the problem staring at it.

So as I reflect on the extraordinarily difficult situations of some of my believing friends, I am perplexed

Their real-life pain is bumping up against my theology and I want my simple theology back!

I have a girlfriend who has been out of work for a year. A YEAR! She has stellar skills, is a Godly woman who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is extraordinarily good to those around her. I have watched her seek Him for answers to real-live needs (not just wants), and yet her prayers and the prayers of others around her seemingly have gone unanswered.

Other friends of mine have faced homelessness due to a lack of steady income over the past three years. By no fault of their own, their business, home, and life was first slammed by 9/11, then again as they got it back up and running – by Katrina, then a third time – by the economy. Every time they have tried to put hard work into getting their lives on track, something outside of their control knocks them backwards again.

These are simply two stories but there are literally thousands of people out of work right now facing these exact circumstances.

It just seems so unfair. So many of my friends who are God’s children seem to have real needs in their lives right now, and I’m seeing these needs go unmet. My friends are past the stage of want and are in need. I don’t get it.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:2)

A shift in perspective from my friends’ circumstances back to God’s word helps, but also provides a sometimes even more disturbing theology for me to swallow!

  • Isaiah 30.26: The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.
  • Isaiah 45.7: I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
  • Lamentations 3.38: Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?
  • Deuteronomy 32:39: See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me; I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded, and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand.
  • Deuteronomy 30:1-2: When all these things which I have set before you, the blessings and the curses, are fulfilled in you, and from among whatever nations the LORD, your God, may have dispersed you, you ponder them in your heart.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-9a: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.

 We are promised affliction, but also deliverance:

  • Psalm 140:12: I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. But my friends have need Lord, real need!
  • Psalm 39:19: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. When God? When will you deliver them? Why must the righteous suffer so?
  • Deuteronomy 2:7: For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing. Is it just a matter of sight Lord? Heal the eyes that cannot see your blessing… if it is there, help us to see it!
  • Luke 4:16-21: He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Knowing that there are two sides to every coin helps somewhat, but my theology remains cramped. I know God says He will never leave us or forsake us, but what about when His presence does not pay the water bills? I know God promises to provide a way out, and declares that He is the way, but what happens when the power company will not take Jesus as viable payment on an account? And as a friend, how do I minister God’s wisdom and healing into these situations?

I find comfort in this old story.  

A mother sends her twelve-year-old son out on an errand and it takes him a long time to come home. When he finally gets back, the mother says, “Where were you? I was worried about you.” The son says, “Oh, there’s this little kid down the street whose tricycle broke and he was crying ‘cause he couldn’t fix it. And I felt really bad for him so I stopped to help.” The mother said, “Are you trying to tell me that you know how to fix a tricycle?” And the son replies, “Of course not, Mom. I sat down and helped him cry.” 

Maybe it is enough just to show up in the lives of my friends and leave the theology to God.

 

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Responses

  1. I am living through times such as you describe and yet, I still love the Lord, and yes I still get frustrated and wonder WHY…Why is it that some folks live lives that seem to unaffected by these financial times, and even seem to prosper MORE. My way of dealing with it is to just do what needs to be done. Get the infusion, get the blood test, go … Read moresee the 15th specialist, take the 6 different medications. Acknowledgement is part of the healing balm. Sit down with someone else and help them cry. That is a profound statement. Some refuse to embrace the pain of losing everything, they put on the fake "I love Jesus" face and pretend everything is all right. The book Jim and i are reading together right now is call "A Sacred Sorrow". We need to be able to enter into each other's pain and "help them cry". This I believe is an essential part of our relationship with God, essential to our healing and growth. I only have a moment, but I want to thank you Jenny, for sharing your thoughts!

  2. […] have blogged about my buddy on more than one occasion because as I have walked with her through this – it […]

  3. […] have blogged about my buddy on more than one occasion because as I have walked with her through this – it […]


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