I know that each of you have gone through some sort of fire in 2017. For some of you, like two families close to ours, the fire is still smoldering in 2018.
In 2017, we faced many losses, and the hardest was the loss of our baby at 12 weeks. We had already heard the heartbeat, saw the baby wiggle as the ultrasound tech probed for the life within. We saw organs, and all was well, and then a few weeks later, it wasn’t.
I’m personally ready for a new beginning, one filled with new joy and hope, but if I’m being honest, I often feel distant from Jesus and his love when I have so many questions, the ones I may never have an answer to down here. Ones like:
Why, God, do babies have to die?
Matthew 18:14 ESV says “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish,” but the life within me perished, and that why will always stay with me.
When will the pain go away?
Psalm 30:5 ESV says “joy comes with the morning” but most mornings are sorrow-filled, and it’s hard to see past today.
How can I possibly see beauty in this?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” but I can’t imagine this will ever look like beauty.
Like me, maybe you are bringing questions into 2018, too. Whether you’ve had a year filled with loss and hardship or even with joy, I imagine you each have at least one question on your heart.
None of us at any season in life are immune from pain, especially if we live with compassion for all of humanity. We hurt when others hurt, even when our year may have brought us newborn babies, better paying jobs, and puppies wrapped in bows (because who doesn’t get joy from puppies?).
In the pain you’ve experienced in 2017, whether personal or not, you have at least one question keeping you from moving fully forward, freely.
First, may I encourage you that you’re not alone.
Second, may I speak with certainty that questioning God to draw close to him is okay unlike what some religious leaders once told me. The Psalms are filled with questions directed toward God. All good relationships involve questions. God is holy, but he isn’t sitting in a distant land with his arms folded, ready to disown us when we plead with him the why’s, how’s, and when’s of our broken, pain-filled lives. He is compassionate. He can handle your authentic questions, your sputtering anger, and your gut-wrenching sobs. He can.
Third, you trying to get to Jesus even in this pain you’ve experienced means that you aren’t stuck. You may be moving at the speed of a sloth, but it’s still forward movement. Slow intention is better than no intention.
Seek answers in Christ
Finally, that question you have? Jesus knows the answer. He is the answer.
Seek him and get your answer—if not today, maybe in the future—if not in this life, then certainly when we see him face to face.
But in this year and in this life…run to him, walk to him, limp to him, crawl to him.
Whatever you do, just get to him in this one life you’ve been given to live. He can be found in all the joys, in all the wonder of creation, in the fullness of his word—the one that reads love, love, everlasting love.
Don’t let that one question or those many questions keep you from trusting him.
And if you’re reading this, I’m praying you find him in 2018 and every year to come.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV