Dear Linwood Family and Friends,
“It’s been a tough week for the Linwood community.” These are words found in several e-mails exchanged with among members of our Linwood family.
There are those who have been taken from us to be with the Lord – one of them taken way too soon, in our humble opinion.
There are those who are facing serious diagnoses and major surgeries.
And, there are undoubtedly other needs and struggles not known by us all, but only to a few.
“Where is God when everything seems to be falling apart?” is a question often asked – quietly or out loud. “Doesn’t He know? Doesn’t He care?” There are moments when even the devout follower feels like shaking his or her fist at God and saying, “I believed in You. I trusted You. How could this happen?” And then we are not only mad at God, but we feel guilty about being mad at God!
Getting mad at God, according to the Scriptures, is not treated as the worst of sins. In fact, the book of Psalms has numerous instances of the Psalmist accusing God of being distant, of failing to exercise His power, and of letting evil prevail. The Psalm that Jesus quoted on the cross is but one example:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
All of us would probably have healthier, more vibrant faiths if we were willing to be brutally honest with God, including those times when we are ticked off at Him! He is a big God. His ego is not going to be hurt. He would rather have us be honest with Him, than pretending that we are fine when He and we know we are not.
There are things that happen to me, to those I love, and to those around me that I don’t understand. Things happen that are not “fair.” Things happen that, if I were God, I would have prevented or changed.
Fortunately, I am not God. My view, my understanding, and my perspectives are very, very limited. God’s view and purposes are eternal and eternally good.
And so, when the Psalmist rants and raves about God’s neglect that is not the end of the story. The passage I quoted above from Psalm 22 is followed with this verse:
“Yet, you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.”
Getting upset at God – questioning God – are not bad things. But we are not to stay there. Like the Psalmist we move from our anger at God to our history with God. We remember the times and ways He has been at work in our lives, in the lives of those around us, and in the lives of His people throughout the ages. This is where our personal journey with the Lord becomes a treasured friend. Here is where the shared faith and history of the Linwood community becomes a valuable companion as we walk through the tough times.
It is hard to deal with tragedy and danger as a person of faith.
Yet, it is devastating to try to deal with such times with no faith.
May the Lord meet you, sustain you, comfort you, and restore you, wherever you are in your faith journey this day.
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor