Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why?

A few weeks ago, I asked if you could hear Him. Perhaps I should be asking myself the same question...

I try to listen to what it is that God tries to tell me, how He wants to lead me, and what it is that He would have me to do. Sometimes it's a relatively easy task; other times, not so much. But right now I tend to be noticing a pattern. Perhaps it's just on my heart right now, and so that's why all of these instances just happen to stand out to me? Or perhaps there is something there I should be listening to and learning from??? I'm really not sure...but I'd like to share a few of them with you...

A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday night, we had a guest speaker from Lipscomb, Earl Lavender, at our church to close out our guest speaker series on the theme of "My Mission." Dr. Lavender's lesson was entitled, "It's Time to Fly: Living Out God's Mission." He had several excellent points, but the main thing that I took away from his lesson was to stay focused on living for Christ--no easy task considering what goes on around us. But he encouraged us to have faith that God is in control, no matter what happens; he said, "Live in a world where God is sovereign, and there is no place for worry."

He talked a little bit about being on a college campus and dealing with students, as they dealt with the events of 9/11.

As he made the contrast between a close friend, who recently lost his daughter unexpectedly in a floating accident, and some of his family members, who were recently in a horrible car accident yet were able to walk away from it, Dr. Lavender was able to bring home the point that it really is not always possible to make sense of the things that happen in this world and why. But then, he said, that was part of what made Christianity so wonderful. As Christians, we choose to believe, no matter what happens. In doing so, we are relieved from having to answer the "why" questions; we choose to believe anyway.

It was a good lesson that I appreciated, and then it was over--or so I thought. After church, I got up and visited with some friends from our singles group, and a few of us decided to go dinner at Fazoli's. I got in my car, with my radio tuned to K-LOVE, and was ready to be jammin' to a good song on the way to eat. It was then...I had no more than pulled out of the church parking lot when I heard the DJ make an announcement about a bridge in Minneapolis collapsing into the Mississippi River. The DJ paused to say a word of prayer for those involved, and I was almost moved to tears, thinking "That's what he was just talking about. In this world, where things like that happen, I've gotta choose to believe that God is a loving God and He is in control of that situation. Although it is not a good situation, I've gotta believe that He is able to bring good from it."

****************************************

Earlier this week, I was perusing through this guy's archives, and I came upon a post he had written entitled "Calling All Angels." He posted this story on his blog a little over a year ago, but the piece is well over a decade old, written about a Methodist pastor who, back in 1994, was affected by a series of tornadoes that ripped through her area. As he puts it, "Forty-two people died that day, including 20 parishoners at the Goshen United Methodist Church in Piedmont, Alabama where Palm Sunday services were in progress. Among the dead was Hannah Clem, the 4-year-old daughter of one of the pastors, the Rev. Kelly Clem." When Pastor Clem was asked how this tragedy affected her faith, her response was, "My faith is what sustains me."

There's that idea again...faith in God, in spite of the world around us. That powerful statement seems to take it even one step further. Not only does she choose to believe in God, indeed, she could not go on without her belief in her Father. "My faith is what sustains me"...powerful, powerful words. I believe we would all do well to learn and truly know what they mean.

****************************************

This past Wednesday night, as our minister taught our class, he spoke of going down to Mississippi to go to a funeral for the brother of one of our members at my church. Because the man who died had committed suicide, our minister wanted to speak about that for awhile last night. We looked at examples in the Bible; we discussed among ourselves possible reasons why a person might do such a thing. However, in our discussion, it seems like we had more questions than answers. Seems like the ideas we ended on were that God is both just and merciful; and we have to trust that God works things out. Then our minister closed out his lesson by reading a section from a book by Philip Yancey entitled, "Where Is God When It Hurts?"

That is the million-dollar question, isn't it? Where is He??? What are we to do with our faith in Him when it hurts??? We are to continue on, knowing that He is with us, He gives us comfort, and He understands...

****************************************

That's what's been on my mind and in my heart most recently...the idea that although I live in a world where people fly planes into buildings...or bridges collapse into rivers...or mines collapse and people are trapped inside, injured, or killed...or someone chooses to take their own life for no real apparent reason...or a 12-year-old girl is running and playing one second and literally gone the next......as a Christian, I choose to believe in a loving and faithful Father God who is right beside me, helping me to get through whatever obstacle there is. I keep recalling Dr. Lavender's words...

"Our faith in God frees us from having to try to answer the why questions when something bad happens..."

One of these days, I'm gonna learn how to do that, how to accept that freedom...

Right now, a part of me still wonders why...

No comments: