Read (from the New Living Translation)
11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
We’ve talked about how God can make something good out of any situation, but sometimes, we just don’t see it. What happens then? Zach from The Wally Show wrestled with this very question when he came face-to-face with suffering.
I had lived a pretty pain-free life. Not many funerals to attend, no divorce or cancer in my family.
I only knew suffering by watching people from a distance, and I assumed what God wanted most from us during hard times was our personal stamp of approval for His plan.
In the middle of the storm, you had to able to declare, “God works everything together for good,” and sing, “It is well with my soul.” Faced with calamity, mature believers both understood God’s plan and joyfully embraced it.
In 2013, we lost our son 36 hours after he was born, and my views on suffering changed.
I quickly realized that I would never approve of any plan that involved the loss of my son. I would never understand it, and I would never call his death, good.
My wife and I heard stories of how God used our journey to help others. I felt like people expected that if we heard enough stories of good, it would balance out some equation and we’d finally be able to rationalize his death and comprehend how a loving God would sit by and let our son die.
As I wrestled with those questions, the turning point came when I realized…
God didn’t need me to approve of His plan, just to accept it.
I wasn’t expected to figure it all out and give Him my thumbs-up; He didn’t need or ask for my approval. All I could do was focus on the next step of obedience.
It became ok to grieve, to be sad, to want God to fix things. God wasn’t disappointed in me for wishing there was another way.
Check out Jesus’ prayer in Luke 22:42 (NLT), right before Judas betrayed him:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me…”
He prayed this repeatedly with agony so great he sweat blood. If Jesus, who was sinless, could beg God to remove suffering, then maybe I could too.
What is crucial, though, is what Jesus prayed next:
“…Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Faith isn’t the absence of grief and uncertainty. Faith is obedience and trust in the midst of grief and uncertainty.
I may never know why God didn’t intervene to save my son. Even if God audibly tried to explain it to me, I probably lack the capacity to comprehend it. Letting go of the need to know and to approve released the weight of the world.
I have a toddler now, and she loves to help unload the dishwasher. Somehow the first thing she always reaches for is a knife.
From her point of view, I’m sure the only conclusion she can reach is that I’m being mean to her when I don’t let her play with knives. She doesn’t have the ability to understand why her mean father would not let her have what she most wants.
As her father, I don’t really care if she understands the reason right now. I’m only concerned with her obedience. I don’t need her to approve of the rules, I just need her to trust that I have her best in mind, and to obey.
I think God’s the same way. He doesn’t need us to always understand and approve His plan. He just wants us to accept it and act in trust and obedience.
I can accept. I can trust. Your will be done.
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!
–Lauren Daigle, Trust in You
Notes from the Beyond Suffering Bible
Understanding the Times – Solomon reminds us that God appoints the time for every event of our lives. From times of joy and celebration to times of trial and affliction, God is sovereign—even if we don’t understand his plan. We cannot let our disappointment or desire for control keep us from enjoying life. We can find comfort in trusting that God always has our best in mind according to his purposes (Rom 8:28-29).