We all know people who, when we compare our life circumstances to theirs, we are instantly humbled. I have friends who have tragically lost loved ones, their homes, and their health… I know of others who have suffered inconceivable loss and yet, somehow, manage to get out of bed each morning and take on the day. It makes you wonder how they have the stamina to carry on.
It’s hard to know what to say, isn’t it? The words that come to our lips are the same ones we struggle sometimes to believe. “Rejection is protection,” and “God has a purpose for this” come so easily to us but do little to fully soothe what hurts. At times, I wonder in my yearning to be a compassionate friend, if I am doing more harm than good. I want desperately to help, yet I know how woefully inadequate and empty such words sound to a breaking heart.
We wear our inadequacies on our sleeves, and we feel completely inept when all we want is for someone to know that we are with them.
I think the hardest thing we can ever attempt to answer, is the very thing we are simply not equipped to do. Why, do bad things happen. Why does illness take those we love. Why do parents sometimes bury a child. Why do people turn away and leave us…. Why, when we have done all we know how to do, do things still not work out as we hoped.
I think because we cannot possibly have an answer that adequately addresses the why’s in our lives, we give in to apathy. We give up. We stray and think that life is random and therefore we might as well enjoy it and not bother ourselves with faith.
All I know for sure, is that good and evil coexist. Bad things do happen to good people. We scan the horizon, wanting to see God coming to rescue us like a knight in shining armor when all hell breaks loose. We expect to see Him. We want the faith that we have relied upon to culminate into a flash of Divine parting of the Red Sea so that we have an escape from our trauma.
And when it doesn’t happen, we feel alone and devastated.
In 1 Kings, when Elijah was running, defeated by fear, he hid in a cave and licked his wounds. It is said that a great and powerful wind came and shattered mountains and rocks before him. Then came an earthquake, and after that, a fire. This is not unlike what events feel like when they come to our own lives and wreck havoc. And, it says, the Lord was not in them.
After the fire, came a whisper. The Lord spoke to Elijah and told him what to do.
I know we wish we could understand the why’s. But we can’t. We can only know that in the earthquakes of our lives, we will survive and that somehow in the stillness of the aftermath, as we are picking up the pieces of what is left, He will whisper to us too.
Sometimes the whisper is a friend who doesn’t have all the right words but the heart and compassion to stand with you. Sometimes, it is in a quiet blessing that comes to you miraculously through the mail, a neighbor, a loved one who senses your need and answers it with unexpected provision or kindness.
Sometimes it just comes whispered in your sleep that He is working it out, to be patient, to wait on Him.
I wish that there was a handbook, a YouTube, an app that helped us navigate troubling times. I wish that there was a program that we could listen to that would coach us how to speak to others who desperately need an encouraging word when all hell comes against us. I wish we could know how to fix it when someone we love is facing impossible circumstances.
These are when we need to listen for the whisper that says “Be still and know that I am God.” He is never in the destruction; He is with us as we go through it. He makes the impossible bearable. He brings life back to the most devastated places. He is always in the restoration of our brokenness.
We will never be able to answer why… We are only asked to point to Who — Who holds the promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Who promises that if we love Him, trust Him, seek Him, that He will work all things together for our good. Somehow, someway… He will.
The greatest things we can do for others when words fail us, is pray for them. Stand with them. Be the compassionate hands and feet of Christ in ministering to their needs as we are able. Be a candle in the darkness of their situation by simply loving them.
Can you hear the whisper? He will tell you what to do.