Q: Why does God take away the dearest people from you when you need them the most? How can we call God kind when all this does is leave hurts and pain?A: This question, submitted on our Q Sunday event in February 2011, is one that is part of the human experience and one that all thinking people ask at one point or another in one form or another. Here are some initial responses, but none of them involve a "silver bullet" that put questions to rest like this one forever. All people experience disappointment, pain and loss in life. That's part of living in the world we do.
- God calls us to himself even in the midst of pain. In the case of the questioner, one can read disappointment. I think the question is related to the death of someone. In this case, we can't place death in the category of God's work. Death, in fact, is an enemy of God that will be put down forever one day (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). God does look for us to count on him more than any other relationship. The loss, then, can have a good purpose in the end. Our grief, sorrow, pain, disappointment in the death of someone we love should push us further into relying on and trusting in God.
- God identifies with loss. Whenever we lose or our disappointed or experience pain we feel just isn't fair, it's always a helpful corrective to recognize that at the very center of the Christian faith is a God who gives up his Son for the sake of the world. He was unfairly brutalized, betrayed, cursed and killed. None of that is fair, and so whenever we feel the same things, we can turn to God ourselves to someone who understands very well such feelings. That's probably some of what leads to this promise from the book of Hebrews "We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--but did not sin." (Hebrews 4:15).
So, inquirer, I encourage you today to take your disappointment honestly to God, he is big enough to hear it and will answer you with words of truth and love, if you'll be willing to hear him.
Labels: death, discipleship, pain, problem of evil, problem of pain, resurrection