Stronger Week II : When life Doesn’t Make Sense, God can be Trusted
Life isn't always going to make sense. We're going to experience hurt that we didn't expect, and that we can't make sense of.
Sometimes life is going to be painful. Sometimes we're going to ask questions like, "Why me? Why is this happening? What did I do to deserve this? Where is God?"
I don't know if you've ever felt like life doesn't make sense. Maybe you have — maybe you're experiencing it right now. Or maybe you haven't — maybe your life has always been pretty good. If you're tempted to tune out because you're not sure this conversation applies to you, I promise you that it does.
Even if life has been good to you so far, someday it will get painful and confusing. This conversation can help prepare you for that.
Even if life is good for you right now, life is probably a challenge for someone you know. This conversation can help you love and encourage that person in the middle of their hurt.
Learning From The Early Church
Back in the day, the Roman government was threatened by the message of Jesus and the new Kingdom Jesus came to announce, Jesus' followers were being captured, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. They knew Jesus had called them to share His good news all over the world, but they were being severely punished for it.
God's people were suffering without reason. They were following Jesus, doing God's will, and spreading Jesus' message of love, redemption, and salvation — so why were they suffering? It didn't make sense.
But watch what Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, says to his fellow Jesus-followers . . .
1 Peter 5:7-11
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Do you hear that? Yes you're going to suffer, but Jesus will redeem your hurt. Through your pain, He'll make you stronger. Trust God with your pain because He cares for you.
With Us In The Pain
Derek Redmond was a popular and successful British athlete. He had broken records, won gold medals, and made history. In 1992, he was favored to win even more medals and break even more records in that year's Barcelona Summer Olympics.
But watch what happens when, just a few moments into the semi-final, life suddenly gets very difficult.
That was Derek's hamstring you saw tearing mid-race. After collapsing to the ground, he made the decision to finish his race in spite of his excruciating pain. He stood up and kept going.
And did you see what happened next? Derek's father rushed to his side. He didn't take his pain away, but he held his son close and walked alongside him to the finish line.
I don't know when, or how, life is going to get difficult for you. I don't know when, or how, life is going to stop making sense. But when it does, I hope you'll remember this image of Derek and his father.
In the middle of your pain and confusion, you can trust that . . .
God will rush to your side.
God will carry you.
God will care for you.
God will redeem your hurt to make you stronger.
God can be trusted.
Take a minute to listen to the song at the end of this post; as you listen consider the following:
If you're struggling to trust God right now because something in your life is painful and doesn't make sense, listen to the words of this song and imagine God is speaking these words to you right now — because I believe God is.
If you're not sure what you think about God at all, that's okay, but I'd love for you to do the same. Like we talked about last week, Jesus came to redeem what's gone wrong, both in our lives and in our own hearts. Jesus came to rescue us from so much — including our own sin.
If your life is pretty good right now and you can't really relate to any of the stories of pain you've heard today, that's okay — but I have a challenge for you. As you listen to this song, imagine you are one of the people we talked about today. Then try to listen to this song through their ears. Maybe God wants you to hear this message to prepare you for something difficult you'll face in the future. Or maybe God wants you to hear it so you can share it with someone you know who's hurting.
No matter which of those categories you fall into, I hope this song reminds you that, no matter how much hurt or pain you experience, you are deeply loved by God, who can always be trusted.