For school with the kids last year I read through a biography of Adoniram Judson, one of the first American missionaries to Burma in the early 1800s.
It was an incredibly hard book to read because Mr. Judson gets hit by one bad thing after another. He
– buries 2 wives, (out of 3)
– buries 6 of his 11 kids,
– goes through torture
– is put in prison for 20 months
And he watches other missionaries go through equally horrific experiences.
It was an extremely hard book to read.
But God does use Mr. Judson and by the time of his death over 100 churches had been started and there were over 8000 Burmese believers.
But what a life to get to that point!
And I was sharply reminded that God is not controllable. We like to pretend that He is. If we do our thing, God is obligated to do His thing and give us a pretty good and easy life. Sure, some bad things can happen but nothing too terrible.
But how do you say that to the family that lost 5 kids in 1 car accident? Or the husband who lost his wife and children when, as they were driving to vacation Bible school, they were hit by another car and killed?
Would they be able to sing about the goodness of God? Would they be able to declare His praise and worship Him?
I really wrestled with those questions.
How can God be good when His people suffer such horrific events?
You may not like my answer…
Because He is good.
And somehow He doesn’t lose any of His goodness, no matter what we experience.
Lord-willing, no one reading this blog will go through anything like that. But, I bet you have been through some painful experiences in your own life. Miscarriages, troubled or failed marriages, rebellious children, death, bodies that aren’t working right, minds that are troubled, finances that are in a mess, broken relationships…. and the list could go on and on.
Some of these struggles may be because we have sinned and are suffering consequences. Other struggles just happen and where do we turn in those moments? We learn from our Savior. Like Jesus on the Cross we may cry out “My God My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus felt abandoned and alone but He still claimed “My God.”
We turn to our God, the Giver of all good things. The One who is in control, who sees the end from the beginning, who never leaves us, never forsakes us. The One who walks through the flames with us, and who loves us unconditionally.
Whatever happens in your life may it lead you to God. When the fire surrounds you may it not burn you up but may it produce in you a true faith, a faithfulness. A stubbornness that holds fast to God even when He seems most distant. Believer, you have the Son of the Living God holding you. The Creator of the Universe walking with you. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead working in your heart.
No matter what happens, how could we want more?