Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which
are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are
seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II
Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV)
It happened again today, Lord. Another of Your children was called home to be with You. It seems like that's been happening a lot lately. Deaths and grief. Illnesses and pain. Troubles and worries. Falling on so many of us like a ninety pound weight.
This is when the questions come. The when's, the how's, the why's. Times like these are when the gray clouds swirl around us so vigorously that we wonder if they won't just sweep us away like Dorothy's house. Sometimes, and I know that we should have more faith in Your promises and love than to give in to these thoughts, but sometimes, we wonder if You have abandoned us. If You've forgotten about us, or left us to our own devices at the moment we need You the most.
Is it our own frailty that asks why a mother lingers on for days between life and death? Is it our own fears that cause us to be unable to visit with the friend who has only days left on this earth? Do we secretly harbor unbelief in our heart of hearts when we see a brother or sister wracked with pain that seems to never cease? Is Satan himself in the questions, or is it only our own humanity that leads us to the same unanswered ones again and again?
I don't know, Lord. I don't know the answers to these questions any more than I have the answers to a million more just like them that I and the rest of Your children send Your way every time something comes at us that we just can't understand.
Your scriptures say that we are not to lose heart. That we cannot look at the things that happen to us in this life as permanent or unchangeable. But Lord, it is so hard. It's so difficult to see these situations all around us, and perhaps even especially in our own lives, and not become downhearted. It seems nearly impossible to erase these questions from our mind in times when our faith is tested or our lives are in danger.
I know, Lord, that nothing that happens in this world is truly lasting, even though much seems to last past what our mind's time frame can accept. I know that these sufferings are like minute drops of rain to You who holds time from beginning to end in Your hand. And I know that however great these trials may be to us in the here and now, there will come a day when all these things will have passed away. Then we will know joy and peace that so far surpasses the measure of pain that we are experiencing now that we cannot even possibly begin to comprehend how wonderful it will be.
But Lord, every now and again, when these tribulations come at our hearts like arrows aimed at an apple, forgive us for our failing faith. Forgive us for questioning Your reasons. Forgive us for the anger that bubbles up within us before we even realize it. And Lord, forgive us for forgetting that You are in control of every situation, no matter how bleak it may look to us. For I know that You have said that all things work for good for those who love You. Not a few things, not most, but all. Even if the good that comes at the end of the affliction is death, then there is still joy for us, Your children. For death is not an end to life, it is only the end to the life that we can see with our eyes. Because of Your death, our deaths are the very beginning of our eternal lives!
Thank You, Lord, for holding us in the palm of Your hand. Thank You for the trials that come our way- they only serve to make us long for the day when we will be with You and troubles will be no more. And Thank You, Lord, for having compassion toward us when we bombard You with the questions that overflow from our minds-
Well, without getting into sordid details here, you've pretty much addressed several issues for me in this article. I've been angry at God, feeling abandoned, and very confused all day! I even yelled at Him because I prayed a very specific prayer last night and if this is His reply--to add even more to an already overflowing list of dismay--well, I know we aren't supposed to question Him, but there are times when that's all I can do. Perfect timing with this and thank you. Beth