Life can be so difficult at times. For myself I have to admit that often I wonder why God allows certain things. Is life fair? Well no, things are not fair. This is an argument against following God I hear often and it is an honest one if not a good one. Life is life and we must work through it whether or not we find it fair. The problem is that we think that God has left us alone to deal with it. Things such as the “impending” divorce, unwanted news from the doctor, the break up, the promotion that fell through, the death of a loved one, any news that seems to pound at us relentlessly. Why doesn’t he simply remove it and take us out of the situation? Where is he? If he was God and a good God would he not do so? Yet God knows us better than we know ourselves and he also knows that we grow through suffering. So are we alone? God knows that what we need is not to simply be removed from the storms that beat against us, but rather we need to know that we are not alone in the storm. I love this account of Jesus and his Disciples.
23 After Jesus left in a boat with his disciples, 24 a terrible storm suddenly struck the lake, and waves started splashing into their boat. Jesus was sound asleep, 25 so the disciples went over to him and woke him up. They said, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 But Jesus replied, “Why are you so afraid? You surely don’t have much faith.” Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. And everything was calm. 27 The men in the boat were amazed and said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.” Matthew 8:23-27 (CEV)
God demonstrates to us that he is not separated from us in our pain. He is not absent in our storm, rather he is in the boat with us. He is waiting on us to call out to him to calm our storm, relying on him to reassure us.
Paul suffered so greatly that he asked God to pull him from his “Strom”, his “thorn in the flesh”. We do not really know what it is, but Paul wanted it gone. He asked God three times. God could have removed it, yet again God knew that what Paul really needed was not a release from the storm, but to know that God was with him in his storm.
8 Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. 9 But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (CEV)
Therefore like Paul, we will have to live within some of our storms. One day all our storms will cease, but till then, we need to trust in the one who created the wind and rain. Trusting the one who stands at the beginning and sees the end.