Twenty years after my only sibling and brother died, I struggled again. I wrestled with unanswered questions, trying to understand why God didn’t save him from taking his life.
Through the lens of my grief and pain, I was wavering in my belief in who I thought God was.
Many of the hard things in life that result in pain, suffering, hurt, and disappointment comes from not understanding God’s true nature.
Too often, we view and judge the character of God through the lens of our circumstances.
If our circumstances are bad, then God must not be good “all the time”.
If our need is not being met or a prayer goes unanswered, then “God must not care.”
If we feel like we are doing everything God has asked of us and still don’t feel our lives are going how we expected them to, then “God can’t be trusted.”
But when we learn to view our circumstances through the lens of God’s unchanging character, we will begin to see that in and through all things, God is working for our good and for His glory, according to His purpose and His plan. (Romans 8:28).
Here’s the thing: We want to blame God for what we (humanity) messed up. This world is broken, and life is challenging because of sin, not because God is a distant, lofty, and uncaring celestial being. However, because of what humanity messed up, God’s trustworthy character was displayed in the most glorious and miraculous way!
He became flesh and came near. He is not distant. He is Immanuel, “God with us”. You see if Jesus did not come near; if Jesus did not die on the cross to save us from the penalty of our sin which was death, then our eternal circumstances would be far worse and far longer lasting than the difficult earthly circumstances we may be dealing with.
We often think life isn’t fair, but that is far from the truth.
Ephesians 2:1-5 says it best:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.“(NIV)
God is merciful. God is trustworthy. God is loving. God is good. This is who He is and who we can depend on when we are hurting, helpless, and hopeless.
Because of His love and care for us, His merciful character provides a way for us to be no longer separated from Him so that we can live forever with Him. And because of His incomparable compassion, comfort, and strength available to us, we can endure suffering for the joy set before us in Heaven – a perfect place where every tear will be wiped away and where there will be an end to all pain.
I love what Lamentations 3:19-23 in the NLT says:
“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:The faithful love
of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.“
So when I think of the suffering that my brother endured in this brutal and broken world, I can be thankful for the mercy of God.
I can be thankful for God’s comfort and compassion that held my brother in His pain. I can be grateful for Heaven, where I will be reunited with my brother and many other brothers and sisters in Christ who I have lost in this life but will live forever with Christ.
So when you are hurting, remember God’s mercy. Cling to His compassion. Lean into His loving kindness that never fails.