Why Must We Suffer?

We are in the throws of raising twin baby girls.  I’ve been working a lot of third shifts and no one in the house is sleeping very much (I get more than anybody).  We’re a bunch of zombies and cranky zombies at that.

Why?

It seems like a loving God would make children sleep more, at least more consistently.  And twins!  That’s just cruel.

But it got me thinking.  I love my wife more than anybody in the world.  And, in large part, that’s because we’ve been through hell and back together.  We have suffered, even at our own hands, but done it together.

I think that the reason children are so difficult to raise when they are first born is because it immediately binds our hearts to these little blessings.  If it were easy, if we had a nanny, if we ignored their needs, the strings that tether us to each other would be weakened and easily broken in the storms ahead.

I’m pretty sure that’s why God allows suffering in the world.

I’ve heard so many using that argument to prove He doesn’t exist.  I’m pretty sure that it proves His existence and the type of God He is, that he puts us in a crucible that draws us to depend on Him completely and never want to stray from His side.  I’m pretty sure that we see Him more clearly and love Him more because of the suffering He allows.

Yeah…

No doubt!

Something About Him

The waves crashed against the sides of the boat as it floundered against the raging sea.  The men in the vessel turn and yell at the one who is sleeping in the stern.  “Save us!”  They cry.

We often treat Jesus like our buddy, one of the “guys” in our life.  I like thinking of Him as my friend, someone I can talk to.  And He is.

But if He is less than God Almighty, if God is less than God Almighty, why do we expect Him to fix all our problems?  If we know Him as Lord of all, King over all creation, why do we fear the tempests that surround us?

In one sense, it is admirable to me that the disciples knew to cry out to Him.  Yet He rebukes their lack of faith because they did not see Him in charge of the winds and the lightening WHILE THEY WERE STILL VISIBLE.  We can see God’s love and power when He takes problems away and question Him so deeply while they remain.

But, His authority never changes.  His power, His sovereignty is not diminished because we can’t see the way through.  His glory is no less evident when He chooses to “sleep” through our struggles.

If we could glimpse His great love for us, the love that conquered sin and death for you and me, we would see that His inaction, His lack of overt displays of power are really evidence of a heart that believes in us and knows what is best for us at all times.

“Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.”

On Wings Like Eagles

I flew to Georgia this morning, 5:00am to be precise. We came down the runway looking at thunderheads all around us and lightning at our one o’clock. That’s pilot lingo for almost straight ahead. I was riding in the copilot seat and had complete control of the aircraft. Well…, I could have except that the pilot would’ve yelled at me and been really ticked.

As we flew into the storm in our small plane (a Cessna 340 if you’re interested), rain hitting the windscreen, the wind buffeting us all over the place, I questioned, internally, the decision to not climb as quickly as possible and get us out of the mess. I don’t know why. Maybe it had something to do with fuel conservation. Maybe a rapid ascent would have put us in greater danger.

I’m not a pilot, so I can only guess at his thought processes.

What he did do was what he called threading the needle. The major cloud formations had gaps between them. We climbed to about 8000 feet nod flew between them. We were hit with violent turbulence, rain, ice and darkness. And, we came through unscathed.

We often talk about going through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23), but don’t understand why. Developing character, patience, Godliness, seems ridiculous in the face of difficult, overwhelming circumstances. We are scared, hurt, broken, defeated and the only solution that makes any sense to our minds is, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!!”

What would have happened to me and my fellow passengers if I would have grabbed the controls?

I’m not God, neither are you. I don’t know much, neither do you. Can you, will you trust Him today?

Will I?