“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelations 22:16
Why do “bad” things happen to “good” people? While I’m certainly not proposing that I know the one true answer, mostly because I don’t believe there is only one answer; I am proposing a thought (or two or three) about it. So often when we see a strong Christian friend battling cancer or mourning the death of a spouse we cry out in anger at God for allowing this pain to befall our friend. “Why God? Why would a LOVING God allow a helpless infant to die? God How is that showing us love?” As a parent, I know that my children should NOT get everything that they want. If I were to give my kids a piece of candy every time they asked for one they’d be obese and diabetic with their mouths filled with cavities. No, as a mother I don’t want my children to experience pain, but I also know that if I were to wrap them in bubble wrap and never let them out of the house then they would never learn or grow, they’d never get stronger or make friendships that would last a lifetime. You know, there have even been times when I have intentionally set my children up to fail. Why? So that they will learn. Sometimes, showing someone that you love them requires bringing them pain; at times, a lot of it.
My husband kept a dirty little secret from me (adultery) for thirteen years, thinking that he was sparing me from the pain of knowing the truth. And I’ve got to be honest, when he did finally tell me the truth, it hurt… a lot. It hurt my pride, my self-esteem and my view of myself as a woman. The truth made me angrier than an old wet hen! But. That truth set us both free, because it wasn’t a secret holding us apart anymore. That truth means so much more to me than all the “I love you’s” he’s ever said to me up to that point. The fact that he was willing to tell me the truth, means that he trusts me and my love for him enough to know that he can tell me the truth; even if it might hurt my feelings for a time.
So often we like to think that if something in our lives hurts then it can not be from God. That God is really all warm fluffy like cotton candy and nothing else; that because He is love He doesn’t do anything to us that causes us pain or suffering, but that it’s only from the Enemy. As if when the Enemy is attacking us, God is off busy working with someone else at the moment and isn’t fully aware of what is happening to US. God has promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us, which means that in those times of suffering and pain, God HAS NOT abandoned us! He has NOT allowed the Enemy to have free reign over us, but rather that God has Satan on a SHORT leash and he is ONLY allowed to do to us what GOD is telling him to do. To accomplish a work in our lives for HIS good purposes. By believing that God is only a “warm fuzzy god”, is putting God in a box and not allowing Him to be who He is; God. As much as we would like to hold Him down in that box, we can’t, because that warm fuzzy god can’t send His Son to die on a cross.
As I have been STRUGGLING with these painful truths I have prayed begging God to help me understand His love in a way that I could explain it to others. Instantly God spoke it into being in my life, a picture of His love. God’s love is like a diamond, clear and pure and full of light. And if every person who has ever walked the face of this earth were to stand around this diamond and look at only one facet (side) of it there would still not be enough people to see all the ways God shows us His love. And it is our job to shout out to everyone else, what our side of God’s love looks like. For one it may be a green pasture at the moment. For another it may look like a rainy day today. For another it may look like the death of a child. Just because we see different sides of something and it looks different to each of us doesn’t mean we’re not looking at the same thing. Just like I can look at a quarter and be describing the head, and my friend can look at the same quarter and describe the tail and both of us think the other is dead wrong in our descriptions, the only thing we’re actually wrong about is our judgments of each other being wrong.
It’s the same with God. We each have a different relationship with God so, we each experience Him in completely different ways because we are all completely different people. No two of us have lived identical lives – even identical twins have differing lives. Because we all have different past experiences, training, etc we can experience the same God at the same time with another believer and still come out of the experience gleaning completely different things.
One of my beloved sisters in Christ lost a son when he was just a baby; everyone was devastated (naturally). During the time immediately afterward she had a conversation with a friend of hers who was not saved. She was bold and witnessed to her friend. Fast forward twenty-some years to a birthday party in my backyard where my neighbor and my friend are both there and know each other. (Which was a surprise to us all!) My neighbor mentions to me after the party that my friend is a saint! I told him, “I know that already but what makes you say that?” He said, “Right after she lost her son she had a conversation with my mom that changed her life. She chose to become a Christian because of that conversation and because she converted the rest of our family did too! Our whole family is saved today because of her! We’re talkin’ like thirty people here!”
Please, do not misunderstand me when I say this, the death of an infant is devastating to us. But, because of her vulnerable state and the fact that she was leaning so hard on the LORD at that point in her life she was able to allow God’s strength to shine through her weakness. His light shows up best in the dark! He used her to bring an ENTIRE FAMILY to Christ! And if her son hadn’t died she wouldn’t have been able to say the things that she said, with the heart attitude with which she said them. It would’ve been a completely different conversation. If they would have had it at all.
I believe that it is a huge part of the great commission, to go out and share with others what our own facet of God’s love looks like, what it feels like, how we experience it… even if it’s in pain. My friend shared her pain and look what happened with that! I have shared with you how I saw God’s love in the midst of the storm with my son’s teeth and how God told me that it was a blessing, period. In the moments when we were going through the blessing, it didn’t feel like a blessing. I had peace, and knew that God WAS most certainly with me, guiding me through it all step by step, but it was still hard and it still hurt. Once we got through it all and were able to step back and really view it from a greater distance we were able to see more depth to the situation and take joy in the victory.
When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land from their 40 years of wandering in the desert, they didn’t just settle right in. No, they had to fight. God told them that He was giving them this land that He promised them, that the people of the land were stronger and more numerous than they were, but they would “utterly destroy them” because God was with them. And the same is true for us today. We are fighting to take possession of the promises that God has made us. Health, prosperity, rest, all things that the enemy DOESN’T want us to have, all “cities” God has promised us. So we have to fight for those cities to claim them as our own. But do not be afraid; be strong and courageous because the LORD is with us! (Joshua 1:9) Although the Enemy is bigger and stronger than you, he will not prevail against you because God is on your side.
And if God is on your side, who can be against you? Because God is on your side, no weapon formed against you will prevail (Isaiah 54:16). Which means you will win EVERY battle, you will conquer every obstacle in your path between you and the promises of God; turning every battle into a blessing. In the thick of battle, it will feel like a battle… because it is. But hold onto the FACT that GOD IS WITH YOU! The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still; be still and know that HE is God and He can handle it. Our battles are blessings, even when they don’t necessarily feel like blessings. But that’s because we’re in the thick of battle – getting our battle scars, mementos to help us REMEMBER the battle and everything we learned in it. (Like “fake teeth”)
Today God wants to show you something, He wants you to spend some time in prayer starting with:
“Lord, I want to see Tamar’s facet of You today. Please take me back to the biggest battle I’ve ever had to fight and show me where You were in the whole thing.”
and then be still and listen to what He says. When I think back to the hardest moments in my life I realize how much I learned through them and I can see how God got bigger for me in each battle. How I became less, and He became more. If you’re fighting a battle today, think about this, the Morning star is out during the day, but we can’t see it’s light because it’s too bright. But in the black darkness of night it sparkles like a diamond in the sky.
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.
Exodus 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.