Most people, in addition to being innately curious, also have a strong sense of right and wrong (also known as: our conscience, also known as: the Holy Spirit). Put those two things together with the fact that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, added to the exhortation that we should just trust God to do what’s best, you’ve got a dilemma. Sometimes God’s best doesn’t make sense to us, and we want to know why. Isn’t that the oldest rail against God? All from the serious-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things “Why did my friend have to die without getting saved first?” to the makes-no-difference-to-life-but-is-important-to-me “Why doesn’t he like me back?” We want to know! But we’re not supposed to question God, right, because that shows our lack of faith.
The rain let up, the clouds parted; I looked for a rainbow because that beauty would make the storm worth it. From my limited vantage point on the road, there was no rainbow to be seen. The fresh air created by the storm seeped in my air vents. I inhaled; it smelled like a brand new day, full of possibilities.
Ron Hamilton’s song “Rejoice in the Lord” came on my mp3 player. “I could not see through the shadows ahead, so I looked at the cross of my Saviour instead. I bowed to the will of the Master that day, then peace came, and tears fled away.” I thought about that—when we can’t understand why, just know that God is doing what’s best, and He will bestow peace to your heart. Ask why: 0. Just accept: 2.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, they belt out that last verse: “Now I can see testing comes from above. God strengthens His children and purges in love. My Father knows best, and I trust in His care. Through purging, more fruit I will bear.”
AHHH!!! It’s the answer to why!!! Why did this bad thing happen? So I could grow in God. Why can I never get this thing right? So I can rely more fully on God. Ask away, man. Ask God why. Search the Bible for an answer. He has the answer! But you have to search with an open heart. If you ask why, wanting to hear a specific answer, and you won’t accept any other answer, then you’re really not truly asking why. I think that last verse of the song is based on John 15:2. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
Isn’t that great? No really. If you are serving God, witnessing, fulfilling the Great Commission, bringing glory to God in everything you do, to our feeble minds that means that your life should be reasonably free of heartache. But God knows that with a little bit of trials and tests, you could do so much more! Be so much more for Him! Shouldn’t that be the heartbeat of every Christian, to do and be more for God?
I pulled off the interstate and was sitting at the red light at the end of the exit. And let me tell you, that paragraph right up there, when I first thought it, there weren’t NEARLY as many exclamation points and italics. There were a lot more parentheses and smaller font words. Because I didn’t know if that was great. Suffer more? On purpose?! I am too weak for that. I need pillows and soft music, the occasional chocolate bar, you know? I for one am NOT interested in having my heart ripped out again, for any reason. There are enough other people in this world who can be more for God. I am just fine, being the mediocre-ness that I am.
But then—and you know there is ALWAYS a “but then”—I hear a noise in the back seat. I glance in the rearview mirror and see my son leaning forward with a huge cheesy grin on his face.
“Mommy, did you hear me? I just wanted to tell you ‘I love you’!”
Need I say more? My heart bowed in shame. My eyes smarted with tears.
“I love you too!” my mouth said, while my heart cried to God, begging Him to make me more. How can I teach and train my son to give his all for Christ, to suffer anything God asks of him, to potentially give his life in or for God’s service, when I am not willing to do the same? God doesn’t ask of me any more than He gave. And it’s not like I have to go through those trials alone. He promises to be with me. Just like he promised a rainbow after every storm. And just because I didn’t see the rainbow (limited vantage point, remember?) doesn’t mean it’s not there. I think you can draw the correlation. Just because we don’t see God in our trial doesn’t mean He’s not there, either.
Maybe that’s why we are so reluctant to put ourselves through the fire. We don’t see God, so we think He’s not there. But He is there. Always. So put yourself through the fire. Be more. And if we all do it together, our fruit will be multiplied and we can have so much more effect on this world. We can bring so much more glory to our Saviour. And when our kids look at our lives, we won’t have to say “do as I say and not as I do,” because our "say" and our "do" both honor God.