(Previously published August 6, 2010)
You don't have to look far, or probably even outside your own family to see pain, tragedy, disappointment, illness, job loss, divorce or even death. Maybe as you are reading these words...your heart is struck with what you may be going through at this moment. It is all around us.
As I am walking the breast cancer road right now, ooh, disease is so present in my day to day. It surrounds me. And whereas I want to share with you all the details of my past two days with two medical oncologists (I'll get to it), there is something burning so deeper in my heart right now. Those are details. BIG details of my treatment.....but overall, they are just part of the diagnosis, the circumstance, the disease, and my progression on in treatment to be "disease free." They lie on the surface, if you will.
This morning, (and really for the past year) God is speaking to my heart about the age old question that we have all heard or probably even asked ourselves before, "why do bad things happen from a loving God?"
Why does a child get ushered into heaven?
Why does a husband/wife abandon the family for another person?
Why did that car swerve causing death to a loved one?
Why is there disease?
Why did that man lose his job and now the financial burden is caving in?
Why did that earthquake shake loose the foundation and lives of so many people?
So many whys can be asked.
And often when we ask these whys we look to place the blame on God. Saying that He is responsible. If we affirm that He loves us. Why would a loving God allow such things to happen? And then a roadblock comes up that places a barrier between you truly letting go of the circumstance and opening up your heart for a moment to the possibility that a loving God has a plan that you can't see. And that tragedy, may just be the thing that will open your heart to something outside of yourself and your physical surrounding...a walk of faith not of sight. A hope outside of doctor's, outside of this life, outside of your job, outside of health.
A hope and faith in a living, loving God.
The question I think needs to be rephrased.
When tragedy is at your door, why are we so quick to blame God and not mankind?
The problem is not in divinity, it is with humanity.
So the question would be, "Why do we blame God over man?"
I could take you back to the beginning of time, which is where the problem lies. When Adam and Eve sinned and Eve bit into that apple. That is when tragedy, pain, death, disease entered this world. Do you know that God never intended man to die? We were meant to walk in the garden with God. In the beauty of His holiness and perfection. Without shame, guilt, sadness, disease and sin. To worship Him and have fellowship with Him.
That in His Word He tells us in Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned...."
1 Corinthians 15:26 "the last enemy that will be destroyed is death."
Hebrews 2:14 "He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil."
In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve in His perfection. He instilled in each of us the power to choose. We were created to worship and glorify Jesus Christ. But we aren't robots. We weren't mechanically created to do as we were told. (just think of your children if you are a mother or father!) Our children need to be taught, trained, loved, disciplined and ultimately the choice is theirs as to whether they will choose to obey or disobey. Whether they will submit to your authority as their parent, and submit to God. We have a will and that will is continually being exercised. We either choose Him or we choose to go at life our own way.
And this is the grace of God. That He gave us His son, Jesus Christ to take the place of our sin when He gave His life on the cross. He made the way for eternal life through Him. But His abounding grace doesn't end there....by His grace we have the power to say no to sin.
Romans 5:21 "so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
His heart's desire is that we would lay down what we can see with our finite eyes, look past the circumstance to His character and but our faith, hope and trust in Him.
And if I haven't lost you yet...ponder this.....when hard, horrible things happen, are you able to look past them to God's character and say, "Lord, I trust in you?"
To know God's character, who He truly is....you have to first open your heart to the possibility that there is a God who loves you with an everlasting love. And then you have to go to Him. I'm not talking about religion here...I am talking about a relationship. You have to open His Word, the Bible. Going to church is great. But you have to go to the heart of God yourself to truly know Him.
If you want to know the character of God, just go to the Gospel of John, His love poured out for us. See the heart of God. I'm not talking about just understanding and studying God so that your head it filled with all sorts of knowledge.
I'm talking about a heart that is changed by his power, love and grace. There is a reason you have a neck. It is to connect the head to the heart. That connection has to remain open. Open the mind to the understanding of who God is and let Him speak to your heart.
This is who God is.
He is unchanging. all powerful. filled with love, grace, mercy, hope and peace. patient. kind. long-suffering. compassionate. selfless. tender-hearted. desiring no one to be outside His presence. the author and giver of life both physical and eternal. the creator of all things. knows your heart to its depth and core. knows the end from the beginning. will leave 99 sheep to go after the 1 who has strayed. is faithful. trustworthy. will bear your pain and go to the Father on your behalf. desires to bless and keep you. will give you more than you can even imagine or think possible. he can redeem all things. he forgives........and more and more.....
He can't look upon sin. He disciplines. He corrects. He calls out to you. He is justice. He is perfect and pure, sinless.
And so, in my own depth of disease and pain right now, I continually go back to His character. Lord, show me more of you. Because as I rest in Him and who He is, as I confess my own sin to Him and He pours out his forgiveness upon me and cleans this sinful heart of mine.....I trust Him with my life because I trust in Him and who He is.
Does it mean I will live to be 100? No way. Does it mean He will automatically cure me of this cancer? No way.....but it means that I don't blame Him for my cancer. He has allowed it into my life for very specific reasons, some I may never know......but ultimately at the root, there is love. And I hold hard and fast to the Truth found in Romans 8:28,29
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose. For whom, He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son..."
So I ask the question again.....why do we blame God instead of trusting in His character?
I'll be back later to give you the updates from the last two days....which may very well be the reason you stopped by today. Thank you so much for caring for me and my family as you do! Thank you for stopping by this little old window into my heart. Like I said, it is a place for me to truly pour out from my heart. And on this road, there is more flowing through my heart than just cancer.....a whole lot more!