June 16, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Why?”

Jeremiah 12:5

“If you have raced with men on foot

    and they have worn you out,

    how can you compete with horses?

If you stumble in safe country,

    how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (NIV)

Our church family lost a dear sister a couple of weeks ago.  Massiel was 26 years old and had been coming to Remnant for several years before I got here.  To my understanding, she had eaten a sandwich which contained a nut she was allergic to.  While in the ambulance, she went into cardiac arrest and lost oxygen to her brain for several minutes.  For over a week, Massiel was in a coma, until doctors determined her brain had sustained too much damage to sustain life.  And so with family and loved ones by her side, support was withdrawn, and we said goodbye to our sister until that joyous day when we will meet her again in our Father’s house.

Though I didn’t know Massiel very well, I certainly thought she was great to have in our church. I’ll remember how she almost always had a genuine word of encouragement for me.  After she passed, many of my church members mentioned how she had overcome so much in her childhood and upbringing, that it felt especially tragic that she would pass this way—and so young.  I remember visiting her in the hospital and a close friend of hers lamented that she didn’t ask what was in the sandwich (which she always did), nor that she wasn’t carrying her epipen (which she always did).  Thinking about all the “what ifs” can drive a person crazy.

If you have not experienced the untimely death of a loved one or an inexplicable accident, unfortunately, you eventually will.  In these times, you’ll probably ask God, “Why did this happen?”  The truth of the matter is that there are a number of things in life that make people ask, “Why?”  If you’ve been following our devotionals the last couple of days, you know that Jeremiah 12:1-4, the prophet asks a series of “why” to the Lord, such as, “Why do the wicked exploit others and prosper, and you Lord, seem to do nothing about it?”

Today’s passage gives the Lord’s response to the prophet in a manner that is likely going to be unsatisfactory to most; God basically says, “I have my reasons, and you wouldn’t understand them.”  Now before you go storming off, let me say this: I’m very comfortable not knowing why.  When it comes to even relatively small things in life, I find myself worrying about making the wrong choices, whether I have the right or complete information, or if I am seeing things from the right angle.  Truth be told, oftentimes, I’d rather just let the smartest guy in the room choose for me.  Fortunately, in my world, the smartest guy in the room has infinite knowledge, infinite perspective, and is by nature good—and He loves me and everyone else around me more than I ever could.  So when it comes to the big things in life, I find it freeing to not have to know the “why” all the time.  Perhaps some of you need to find more comfort in knowing less and trusting more.

By the way, I’d also say that God doesn’t always give us the “You can’t handle the truth!” answer to our questions, but His work may take many months before it’s discernable to us.  Unfortunately, so many times we are so stung by the sadness/anger of the moment, we actually harden our hearts and don’t see God’s working.  Think about the tough things you’ve gone through; how did they turn out months or years later?  Now that there’s some distance, do you see how God worked?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, just like the opening line in the “Serenity Prayer,” give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, not because I’m being passive, weak, or lazy, but because I trust in Your goodness and wisdom.  Lord, I also want to pray for __________ who is going through a very difficult period in his/her life right now. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Ezekiel 22-23

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