Thursday, September 22, 2005

When the Answer is No Answer

I'm going to attempt the impossible. I am going to tackle THE BIG QUESTION especially popular in the wake of hurricane Katrina (and now Rita on the way), that being: the question of God's sovereignty. If God is in control of everything and He is a loving God, how can He let something like this happen?

As human beings who claim to follow God, we are often put in a position of having to answer for Him. This is unfortunate, since we are none of us, God, and if God is not going to give us an answer, on what grounds can we possibly think that we might be able to explain one to someone else?

Put on the spot with questions like this, we usually end up trying to show how good ultimately comes of these horrific things, but that is never a satisfying answer, especially for one who is in the middle of experiencing nothing but loss and devastation.

Here is a believer's dilemma: The Bible has absolutely no qualms about presenting a world where bad things can happen to good people and good things can happen to bad people. It is entirely un-self-conscious in this way. God does not seem at all challenged about accepting responsibility for that which befalls us that we determine is good or bad.

The pill we have to swallow is this: Our inability to accept these paradoxes is our problem, not God's. God is not hauled into court by our questions. God simply will not sit on the witness stand and have His activity scrutinized by us. I suppose we can scrutinize it all we want but that will get us no closer to understanding God or having Him reveal His motives to us.

So we are left to make our way - to figure out, as both Job and Solomon did, how to accept difficult things from Him and still honor and worship Him.

By saying this, I am not suggesting we have a faith that has nothing to do with our feelings of frustration or desperation. We don't just paste a scripture verse, or a “God knows what He's doing” over the question and walk away, unconnected with the feelings that forced us to Him in the first place. (This is why some Christians seem so unattached to their true feelings, because they have gotten good at doing this.) Even God's Son cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” from the agony of the cross… and He knew why all along! He just wasn't a robot. I think He was merely being entirely human in that moment. It's human to ask. It's human to not get an answer. It's human to be frustrated. It's human to alternate between trusting God and fighting God.

So where does this all end up? Well, here's my best attempt: Never stop asking, seeking, and pounding on God's door for answers; just don't expect Him to always come out and give you one. However, He will always come and put His arm around you and comfort you. That much I know.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Romans 11:33, 34

~ John Fischer is the Senior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals.

The most comfort thought in the article that reminded me God never fail to forsake us. Still with us despite the many unhappy things that are happening around us.

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