So often I’ve seen new believers hit an overwhelming obstacle in their lives and then talked with them in the aftermath. “Why did God allow this to happen to me? I can’t believe in a God of love who would do this.” And as their faith fades, I watch them walk away.
I was seventeen years old and had been a christian for a little over a year. I was a senior in High School with all that entails (not a good student, not popular, relationship issues). And to top it off, my brother was going through severe problems with his life that I was trying to help with. He had been a talented artist and musician that met with success early in life. He also met with drugs, and in particular, LSD. It ruined him. And so, I got to watch as my hero slowly disappeared behind the erratic actions and depression of schizophrenia. In mid November, I lost him to suicide. Words seem so inadequate to describe this. I wanted to be close to God and prayed fervently for many things. I then waited on God for His answers. The only one I got back was that I would lose my girlfriend. I immediately filed that in the, “Don’t bring this out on pain of death” file, only to have it come true at the end of December. I quit everything and buried myself in a hole of anger and fear.
My sister, with her laughter and craziness and love for God, is what brought me out. But I had never quit talking to God. I would yell at Him (cuss and swear at Him too). I would say I was going to give up and then go back to His word. Peter said, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” And I learned this to be true.
I had a friend tell me one time, “the reason I don’t believe in Jesus, no matter what you say, is that I will never bend my knee to another.” And that is really what is at the crux of this. We come to Jesus for all that he offers. We worship because we will feel better when all is said and done. But we will not bend our knee. We miss our opportunity for life, for joy, for peace, for fulfillment in this oft times subtle rebellion. We may not openly defy Him but we will not yield.
And so, our loving Father uses the circumstances of our lives to show us that there is no other hope. He did not kill my brother to bring me to Him. My Lord was pursuing him as much as He was pursuing me. But He calls to us in the midst of our storms to draw us to His feet. And, if we will allow it, we will bend our knees to Him and know Him as God.
The trials will not cease. Our understanding of why disasters, torture, pain and all other forms of human suffering will not necessarily increase. I still miss my brother and hurt so much for him. But we lay our lives, willingly, in the hands of the GREAT I AM and know that He is good.