Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Sometimes it can be challenging to understand why we suffer pain and sorrow in life. It may seem like God is distant, maybe doesn't care, or is punishing us. The difficulties of life can easily cause us to turn away from believing that God even exists. Because, certainly, if God truly cared about us, he would not allow all of this heartache and destruction that we see all around us and the grief that touches our lives. Or would he?
Recently, I was challenged to list out the ten worst moments of my life. At the top of my list was losing my close cousin to Covid. We prayed for her and I felt myself asking, Why? Why Sandra? Why now? I felt let down by God. How could this happen to her and the family and friends she left behind? It is during times of crisis that we can often experience a change of perspective.
That happened to me during another difficult time in my life. When my daughter was 4 ½ years old, she got a splinter in her finger and came to me with big crocodile tears, "Daddy, it hurts, make it stop." Well, you know what has to happen, don't you? I got the tweezers, grabbed some alcohol... and a needle. She took one look at that needle, then looked at me and sobbed, "Is it going to hurt?" I tried never to lie to her, and I said, "Yes, Andrea, it's going to hurt, but we have to take the splinter out, or it will be worse."
Before she could run away, I grabbed her. Then I held her arm down with my knee and got to work on that splinter in her finger. It was tough because she jerked around and screamed. "No, daddy, please don't hurt me." It just broke my heart, but I did what I had to do.
When I let go of her, I thought she would run away. Instead, she turned around and started beating her fists against my chest, "I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!" Haven't we all been there at one time or another?
It kind of took me by surprise, yet I completely understood her feelings. I had intentionally hurt her for a greater good and purpose. I let her go on until she kind of ran out of steam. Then I picked her up, sat down in my chair, and held her in my arms until her sobs subsided. As I sat there rocking her in my arms, the funniest thing happened. In my mind, this fully formed poem suddenly appeared. It goes like this:
As I held her there in Daddy's chair, God spoke to my heart.
Not with words heard by the ear; we weren't that far apart.
You are much like her to me so this I'll tell you true.
The hurt and pain that's in your life I'll faithfully remove.
I understand your anger, hurt, and disappointment too.
I love you more than you love her.
Don't you think I do?
That day, more than thirty years ago, I had an epiphany and a very sudden change of perspective. I realized that God is not a genie in a bottle waiting to do my bidding. He is a faithful father taking care of me despite myself, and he doesn't mind when I throw a fit.
Have you ever tried to comfort a crying baby? It doesn't do any good to go over to the small child and yell, "Shut Up! Be Quiet!" It ain't gonna work. What does a mother or father do? They pick up the baby in their arms, bounce or rock them, and sing. We seem to naturally know how to comfort our children, sometimes in spite of ourselves.
If you believe that God is real, what is he like? How does he interact with us? How can we know? Sometimes we may think of God as distant, watching, condemning, judging. The Christian Bible indicates that God Loves us. Think about what it says about God's interaction with us:
"God will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." -Zephaniah 3
When my daughter was young and frightened, or upset, I would take her in my arms, comfort her, and sing over her. I was not angry or upset over her smallest concern but delighted in her. In the same way, your concerns, fears, and insecurities can fade away when you hear the music of God holding you in his arms, and singing over you.
Sometimes we need to quiet all the noise, all the thoughts, all the distractions. Turn off the phone. Take a deep breath and let it out with all the burdens of the day or night. Then listen. You may hear the quiet voice of God singing over you.