When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
Over the past week, we’ve been hit with news of tragedy. One friend lost an unborn child, what was to be his first. Another passed away during a stem cell transplant procedure that was supposed to save him, and now we have received news that yet another of our friends is struggling for his life after cancer surgery.
All of these friends are committed Christians, two of them missionaries. The baby, Hannah, had never seen the light of day. Just weeks from being born, she was taken. Joe, a campus missionary, had only a few years ago left the US to take on the challenge of introducing the atheistic Scottish university community to Jesus. Though his ministry had already touched a generation of college students in the US, it was clear that he felt that there was much more work to be done. Doug, who is currently in the hospital, is a missionary to Africa. Having fought and beaten cancer before they had returned to the field only to see the cancer come back and with it a need to fight once more.
In each circumstance I am left asking, “Why?” Certainly I have explanations. I understand that we live in a sin-stained world, one in which the righteous suffer along with the wicked. I also know that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” but the reality of it all is simply overwhelming, impossible to comprehend. Like the psalmist, I am left groping for answers.
But in my search for answers, I find myself seeking the presence of the Lord. Recently, I picked up my guitar and sang, hearing the words of the worship songs anew and allowing them to carry me to a place where I could focus solely on the Lord. I cried, I prayed, and I cried some more. At the end of that time, I had no more answers, but my perspective had changed. Focusing on the magnificence of God, I understood that He is not wringing His hands at the recent turn of events, but rather is still firmly in control. And experiencing those moments, alone in His presence, helped me to understand that He is still very much concerned and involved with each of us who cry out to Him.
So like the mason, who must brick-by-brick continue the work though he may not have access to the master plan, we continue on here knowing only in part. Still, I am thankful that He who alone is all-knowing has allowed to meet with Him, where we find that our need for His presence is greater than our need to know why.
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