So I’m going to go there today.
I’m going to talk about a thought everyone has had at some point in their lives. And if they haven’t, they eventually will.
It’s a frightening thought for some people. Why? Because if you go down that road, if you follow that way of thinking, it becomes more of a downward spiral and you’re scared you’ll wake up one day and have no faith at all. And let’s be honest – some people hold on so tightly to their faith in God, but not so much to God Himself.
So what is this dangerous thought?
God, why did you let this happen? Why did I lose everything? Why does my child have cancer? Why did my wife die so young and leave me alone with four children? Why does my Father have Alzheimer’s? Couldn’t You have stopped this? Why didn’t you stop this? Are you punishing me? I thought you loved me. How could a powerful God let this happen to someone He loves?
We are angry. We are livid. At the disease. At the situation. At God. And we aren’t just angry, we’re hurt. We feel alone and begin to question everything we’ve ever been told about God. We search and search and search for an explanation, thinking if we understand, it will somehow make us feel better about the situation. And we want to feel better. We don’t want to be in pain. We don’t want our loved ones to be in pain. We want to free our heart from the vice that grips it.
But like a wounded animal caught in a trap, we cannot free ourselves. There is nothing we can think, say or do to bring relief. Why? Because this disease, this situation, this loss is bigger than us and we need Someone who is bigger than it to free us. Just as the animal needs someone more powerful than itself and the trap to rescue it. And stop the bleeding.
You enter a courtroom wearing a long, black robe and carry a gavel. You are the judge and you are presiding over a trial in which the outcome has enormous consequences. But you are also the Prosecuting Attorney. You have gone over your arguments in your head a hundred times and all you want is answers. Who is the defendant?
You are trying God for your tragedy, your diagnosis, your suffering and your loss. You’ve read the Bible, even scoured it, looking for answers. But the answers you’ve found haven’t taken away the pain. You need to talk to the Author Himself.
Since He needs no one to defend Him, God is representing Himself. Part of you is very wary about this trial. God knows everything about you so He knows what you’re going to say before you do. He also knows your heart. But you’re not so sure about His.
He waits for you patiently.
“Let’s start at the beginning,” you say.
“Your beginning,” He says.
You ponder this answer and get straight to the point. “Why do I have to suffer? Why do so many good people suffer?”
“The world I created for you was perfect with no suffering, pain, disease or death. Suffering was never my plan for man. I gave man and woman free will and they chose suffering, pain, disease and death when they chose to disobey the only rule I gave them.”
“But You’re God,” you protest. “Why can’t you just stop the suffering?”
You hear a very loud sound behind your back and spin around. God has just dropped a book to the floor and He asks you why it fell.
“Gravity,” you answer.
“Just as man must abide by the law of gravity, he must also abide by spiritual laws. Sin will always have consequences. There has to be punishment for sin.”
“But why are you punishing me? What sin did I commit for my Father to endure this suffering?”
“Neither you nor your parents sinned to bring this suffering. This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in you and your family.”
“But why does my Father have Alzheimer’s?”
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”
“But isn’t that just something You say that means You can do whatever you want?”
You can’t believe you actually said that to God, but since He knows what you’re thinking, you said it anyway. The mood in the courtroom has quickly grown tense.
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
You’ve heard these words before. They were spoken to Job when he tried to charge God with wrongdoing.
“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?”
You are now on trial. You feel so unworthy and realize just how arrogant it is for the created one to question the Creator, for a mere mortal with a beginning to charge the One who has no beginning or ending with wrongdoing.
”Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?”
You look down at the black robe you’re wearing and realize just how heavy and enormous it is. It doesn’t fit you. It never did but you were so full of hurt and anger that you couldn’t see that before. Now, it dwarfs you and you stand there under the weight of it, wondering what you were thinking in the first place when you put it on. The longer you wear it, the heavier it gets.
You remember the story of Job and recall that it was Satan who tried to persuade God to strike everything Job had so he would curse God. But God touched nothing belonging to Job. It was Satan who destroyed everything. God did not give your Father this disease. It came from the enemy.
As you take off the robe, you finally see that if you had all the answers, you would never trust in God and therefore you could never be close to Him. Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. You wonder if God keeps some answers hidden because if we sought them out so desperately, we would hold them higher than God Himself. We would make an idol out of reason and reduce God to our messenger boy. You accept the fact that some answers are only found on the other side of heaven.
There is nothing you can say except to repent for charging the Sinless One, the Holy One with wrongdoing. You fall to your knees and beg for forgiveness, which He gives you immediately.
You feel so completely alone – so far from God and still in pain. You see clearly He doesn’t need to answer to anyone, but you just wish He would understand what it was like to experience this kind of suffering, this kind of isolation. If God walked around in your shoes, maybe things would be different.
From the back of the courtroom, the doors open and in walks the Son of God. He slowly makes His way to the front. He moves closer to you and before you know it, Jesus is standing right in front of you. He does not have a scowl on his face and His eyes are not angry. Instead, the Son of God has this knowing look, like He’s been with you every day of your life. He was there when you received the news of your Father’s diagnosis. He was there when your heart fell and you wept at the uncertainty of the future. He was there when you left everything to move in with and care for him. He was there when your Father walked off in a fit of rage on a busy highway while you feared for his safety. He was there. He was always there.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Jesus lifts up His hands and brings them close to your face with palms up. You look down and see the scars. You see where His hands were pierced with nails to a cross. You look down further and see His feet with the same scars. He turns and shows you where they plunged a spear into His side. And the tears start to flow. Your tears. Spilling onto you, spilling onto Him.
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
You lean into Jesus and He wraps His arms around you. And perhaps for the first time you see that God personally knows great suffering and great loss. He’s not allowing you to suffer to make you stronger. He’s showing you your need for Him. So you release your pain to Jesus and He takes it. He removes the shackles from your heart and for the first time in a long time, you feel lighter, more like yourself.
Jesus reminds you that this world is temporary and heaven is eternal, a place with no suffering, pain, disease or death. That is where you will be. That is where your Father will be. That is where you’ll both spend eternity. With Him.
 Isaiah 55:8
 Job 38: 8-11
 Job 38:16-18
 Job 38:34-35, 37-38
 I Corinthians 8:1
 Joshua 1:5
 Matthew 11:28