When Bad Things Happen

“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.  My soul also is greatly troubled.  But you, O Lord-how long?”(Psalms 6:2-3)WhenBadThingsHappen

We understand that faith involves trusting God even though we don’t understand why he lets bad things happen to us.  Such an understanding may not be very comforting.  And honestly, it does make us angry with God when really bad stuff happens.  King David, who wrote many of the psalms, was no stranger to personal disaster. That is why David’s Psalms can speak to our hearts.  “My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord – how long?”  Like David it is sometimes hard for us to even find a verb in the agony of our pain.  All we can do is ask, “God, how long will you let this torment continue?  How long will the uncertainty of our situation go on?  How long will the roller coaster of soaring hope followed by crashing despair grind us into the ground?”

Our faith makes it plain that God is the right person to go to.  He is willing to let us beat on him with our accusations and frustrations.  But in the isolation of our own thoughts we may find ourselves spiraling into despair, even as we honestly confront God with our anger.  For this reason, it is vital that we resist the temptation to pull away from fellow Christians.  We may be embarrassed over the state of our faith.  But, we do not need to reveal the intimate details of our struggle with God to anyone if we don’t want to.  What we must do is trust God to work through the love of our Christian brothers and sisters.  God’s help always comes in the ordinary activities of our Christian life.  It is true that only God can understand our pain, but he shows his understanding in and through the ordinary things people do.  We want miracles.  God gives us bread and wine.  We want writing on the wall by the finger of God.  God gives us gentle words of encouragement from friends, ordinary sermons from preachers, and simple insights from friends in the study of His Word.

Yes, we are very tempted to doubt God in a big way.  He has let stuff happen that really hurts us.  Doubting him may be the only way we see to fight back.  But like a child in tears shutting out their parents, it is hard for us to take full comfort directly from our faith in God.   To get through we will need to depend on the faith of others.  We shouldn’t be ashamed of this. It is no different than someone with a broken leg depending on a friend for mobility.  It is simple, day to day, getting through with help from our friends that shows God’s deep way of preserving us in the midst of the bad stuff.  Likely, there will be no blinding flashes of transcendental power or thundering spiritual phenomena; only the gentle rain of God’s presence through his other sons and daughters.  Through them he hears our weeping and accepts our prayers.  Through their kindnesses, he wraps his arms around us and bears us up toward the coming day of full reconciliation.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. (Palms 6:8-9)

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