I feel like there’s a big black cloud over the entire other side of the world. Thailand. China. India.
What do we do when we serve a God who’s very nature demands that we praise Him in every storm and that we depend on Him as our solid foundation? How do we follow a God who often leads us to places that break us and change the core of who we are?
That’s hard to answer. It kind of goes back to what I recently discovered about joy and how it comes from the truths that guide your life. But I guess, you could be going by truths that don’t bring joy. So in that case, that wouldn’t be a good definition.
But as a Christian, how do you answer that? I think first, we have to be unapologetic and unwavering in our faith. While that’s the most important thing, it’s the hardest. I mean, what do you tell a man who lost his parents, his wife, and his children in the earthquake in China and is surrounded by loss? Or what about someone who survived the cyclone yet finds herself alone with over half of her hometown wiped out? Or to the young woman, who gave up her life in America to fight for human rights in India, yet finds herself overwhelmed and so burdened by what she sees that she’s breaking?
I always thought that my faith was untried. That I had a huge tragedy coming up (always bracing myself) that would test my faith so that I could say God got me through this huge, horrible thing that happened. Well…that has not happened. But slowly, I feel my faith becoming more steady, more sure, and more convinced by God placing me on solid ground in the ‘small’ trials of my life. The trials that make me feel small, sad, and alone. He has always shone a light into that place and brought something good out of it. So I can only imagine how the world will see Him when He puts something hugely broken back together.
While we are so great at acknowledging the horrible, we suck at identifying the beautiful. And they go hand in hand. Seeing the good does not mean ignoring the bad. It’s acknowledging that while some dark power is at work, there is a bright light that is also working its way into the crevices and holes of the world. So are we going to freak out about the looming danger of the black cloud, or peek into the dimly-lit places and rip them open so that the light can shine into the darkness?
“As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus. ‘But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in His life…’ ” john 9
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. isaiah 60:2
“We don’t believe God. We don’t believe the vision of God. We don’t believe who He is. We don’t believe that He’s good. We’re not captivated by that vision. Because if we were, I have to think that over time other things would fall into place.
God is, at His core, good. Everything you and I experience in our lives over the course of a day, or over our entire lives, that brings us joy is a thin thread to the nature of God. Of course there’s suffering in the world. Of course there are difficult things, but there’s also another power. The power of God is one that brings unspeakable joy into our lives. If our churches could really help people understand the true nature of God, people would want to respond to that, which starts with the vision.”