Answering the Question of “Why?”

A friend recently asked me what was my favorite witnessing story.  I told her without a doubt there is one story of a woman’s life that stands out to me more than any one I’ve ever met. The reason she stands out to me is not because she had a dramatic conversion. This woman stands out to me because for a year I walked with her while she wrestled with God through the question of “Why?” and eventually discovered the answer.  Why did God allow her dad to sexually abuse her?  Where had God been when she needed help to protect her siblings from abuse?  Why had God let her mom die at such a you
ng age?

While wWhye all love hearing stories of former drug addicts having a Damascus road conversion, few people have the testimony of God answering their “why” questions.  I have found that more people turn away from God because of not understanding why something in their life has happened than for any other reason.  This has ranged from questioning God on why a child committed suicide to why God let them marry someone who would eventually leave them.  The question of “Why?” is real, and complicated, but not impossible.

Be Real:  You have to be real about the fact your angry, hurt, mad, doubting, confused. God can take it. Ps. 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him.”  You aren’t giving God new information.  He knows you’re hurt and wants you to draw near to Him.

Admit it’s Complicated:  In my opinion, the biggest benefit this side of heaven to being a Christian is knowing that regardless of the heartache, hurt, and sorrow we are experiencing, God has a plan for our life and that He supernaturally includes our pain. Nothing that happens to us catches God off guard.  He has already decided how He will use it in our life.  Some people get angry about what God has allowed or defensive when Christians say God has allowed something to happen so we need to admit it is complicated.

Realize It’s Not Impossible to Answer:  This is not an attempt to explain the inexplicable.  I had a person get so mad at me for saying God has a plan for her abuse and was confronted with “that’s the church answer”.  I replied, “That’s the church answer, because it’s the right answer.”  Other Christians had told her that she will never know and left it at that out of fear.  There is no comfort in trying to take God out of the equation of suffering.  We need to caution ourselves against seeming trite or insensitive to suffering.  However, in the long run it is more comforting to know without a doubt that God was ultimately responsible than just being a victim of random circumstances.

Remember even Jesus asked Why:  It is not ungodly to ask God why something has happened.  Matthew 27:46 records that even Jesus asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  It is a normal part of our Christian walk to have times we wonder where God is and what He is thinking in allowing something to happen.  It is so important to admit and process your hurt, anger, and confusion at God.  But may us never forget this promise of God from Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you.  Never will I forsake you!” God is still with you, rooting for you, loving you and has a plan for your life!

About the writer:
Julia is a counselor at Meier Clinics where she specializes in treating teenagers and women struggling with eating disorders, depression, anxiety & self-harm.  She is the Girl’s Ministry Associate for the Student Ministry at First Baptist Dallas and a professional youth speaker for Just Say Yes.  Julia has served in student ministry alongside her husband for the past 7 years.  Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!

NUMB

broken heartA few months ago I was in a horse accident which resulted in a temporary season where I lost feeling and partial use of my left leg, it was numb.  It prevented me from being able to do normal things such as walking or being independent.  God used that time to reveal to me areas in my own heart and life that I had allowed to become numb – areas that had spiritually crippled me, yet my pride and inability to recognize it had prevented me from being able to fully live freely the way God intended. The lessons God taught me can apply to most of us in life.

Numbness is great when we don’t feel the pain, but when we choose to be numb or apathetic in our relationship with Christ, with our spouse, family, or other people who have hurt us, we are not living pain free.  We are believing a lie that everything is fine.  We are preventing healing.  A lack of feeling is a lack of healing.

God has been teaching me about my own numbness in certain areas of my life, as well as reminding me of what He promises to do.  I am a believer and follower of Christ, but truth be known, I am not always boiling over with hotness for Jesus. I get comfortable and then it’s easy to become numb.  When we become numb we are not growing in our faith and walk with Christ, we are backsliding or decaying — inviting death to have victory.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15-16

I started asking the Lord to show me areas in my heart and life where I am numb, and a floodgate opened.  My thoughts, selfish ambitions, vain conceit, pride, and busyness were laced into all the good I did.  Truth was clouded, lost, and poisoned by a tiny thread of sin.  As the Lord lovingly pulled the thread inch by inch, my life, my ministry, and my world unraveled.  I am so thankful for a God who is not numb towards me.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) . .   Ephesians 2:4-5

Part of the healing process is acknowledging the numbness, but the most important part of the healing process is pushing through the pain, asking God to search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24).  Are you allowing a thread of selfishness, bitterness, busyness, or pride to be woven into your life?  Are you taking time to seek the Lord and allow Him to examine the condition of your heart and mind?  I pray that you will.

About the writer:
Catherine has been married for 16 years, is a mom to two incredible preteens, and caretaker of her father-in-law with dementia.  She works full time along side her husband at their financial planning company.  She is a chronic people pleaser who is constantly coming to the Throne of Grace to refocus her life, pursuits, goals, dreams and time. The top two things she’s most passionate about are: worshipping Jesus in every thing she does, and being transparent so that only God can take credit for every aspect of her life.

Praying for a Miracle

prayingforamiracleI was down on my knees praying and asking God for a miracle. I was begging God to heal my friend, even though the doctors offered no hope.

I found myself heartbroken like this twice last year.  I knew of two young women, both boldly fighting cancer with everything they had.  Both were living good lives as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, and friends to all. They had young children, which hit too close to home for me.  It hurt my heart to read updates about their fight for life.  Both of these ladies were strong in their faith and surrendered every step of their journey to God.  Prayers from all corners of the globe were being lifted up for both women.

In the last days of their lives, I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for God to heal them and prove the doctors wrong.  I prayed.  I prayed on my knees with tears streaming down and begged for a miracle.  My faith grew, and I hoped they would be healed.  As I prayed, a phrase from a mentor of mine kept coming to mind- “And even if He doesn’t, I will praise Him.”

Both amazing women finished their journey.  My words cannot describe how well they ran their race and finished their fight.  They ran with grace and complete submission to God’s will.  They were strong, bold, courageous, loving, and bright shining lights in the darkness.  Both of their stories continue to move in the hearts of all who knew them and many who did not.

I was not only heartbroken, I was a little mad and confused.  I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt since I was here, but they were not.  Suddenly, raising my boys meant more to me than ever. I felt like I had to be a better mom, wife, friend, and person because I have today.  My mentor told me to take my guilt and turn it into gratitude. The guilt was tearing me down, but gratitude builds me up.  Once I did that, each new day was a blessing, and I was continually thanking Him.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
     And forget none of His benefits;
  Who pardons all your iniquities,
     Who heals all your diseases,
 Who redeems your life from the pit
     Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.  Ps. 103:2-4

I was praying for healing, and God did answer my prayer.  He healed both women, better than any doctors ever could.  They did not lose their fight; with God they won the battle.  God is sovereign, powerful, good, loving, and the ultimate healer.  No matter the outcome of life, I will praise Him.

About the writer:
Meghan is a former art teacher who feels blessed to now be a stay-at-home mom to her two boys.  She loves volunteering at her sons’ school and with the First Baptist Dallas Women’s Ministry and First Impressions Team.  She is passionate about art, cooking, working out, and playing volleyball.

The Healing of God

 

I was struggling with burn out in my professional life along with health issues in my physical life when I haHope of God Pictured an unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) accident at home and shattered my right arm.  Through two surgeries and a year of physical therapy God healed my shattered arm, but that was only the beginning of the healing that God wanted to do in my life.

During the year of recovery from the accident, I had time to focus on what God wanted for my life versus my own desires.  I realized how short life is and wanted to help make a difference in the lives of others  rather than continuing a career.  About the time that my arm was healed, God allowed me to be laid off from my job so true healing could begin.

Almost three years have passed and as I look back, I understand with awe and wonder what God has done in my life during that time.  As I have been obedient to His leading and have chosen His path rather than my own, not only has He blessed me financially, He has healed my physical body and has allowed me to be a witness to what He is doing in our midst.

When I broke my arm I was on a long list of prescription medications, I had terrible allergies, and was extremely overweight.  In the past three years I have been able to focus on my physical health, being obedient to God’s leading in that area, and I am now in much better physical condition to do the work He has called me to do.  I take only one prescription medication a day and the dose is one fourth of what it was previously. I have lost the weight that needed to go and have established a more consistent healthy exercise routine.

One of my life verses says:

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

This verse does not necessarily talk about healing, but when we submit to His plan for our lives, healing we never imagined can take place giving us hope and a future.

About the writer:
Anna leads the W.E. C.A.R.E. team for the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas.  She is a widow, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to the Lord for giving her opportunities to share with other women in several ministries through First Baptist Dallas.

 

Broken Bones

Recently I visited a friend in the hospital.  I happened to enter through the Emergency Room and immediately caught a glimpse of what could have been myself, only younger.  There was a young mom with a little boy, crying and holding his arm.  MBroken y years of experience could have saved her some money.  I had the arm diagnosed instantly.  It is broken and it needs a cast, but be glad it isn’t hot summertime.  My experience has taught me that broken bones are painful and can sometimes be avoided.  I have also learned that broken bones grow back stronger.

Today, I’m mostly beyond broken bones, but I watched that mom wondering if she knew what lay ahead for her in the life of a parent.  In the moment, his broken arm probably seemed like an insurmountable incident.  I wouldn’t dare tell her that one day, looking back, this could seem easy.  As her son grows up, there may be more things to break, though not all physical.  He may have relationships which leave him brokenhearted, or his resolve may be weakened as he is tempted not to follow Christ, even though he was fervently taught Christian values.  That made me wonder, if God grows broken bones back stronger, what about broken lives?  Could it be when a life is broken beyond healing, God redeems and restores it with a stronger faith?

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Colossians 1:9-14

These verses gave me insight into how to respond when our children are in the Spiritual ER.

  • Always pray.  No matter what you see in the temporal, trust God with the eternal.
  • Trust God to redeem.  Pray that your children may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.
  • Believe God has a plan.  Pray that your children will bear fruit, walk worthy, and grow in their knowledge of God.
  • Trust that God is at work.  Pray for their endurance and patience, giving thanks because God has qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints.
  • Believe God is the true light.  Trust Him to shine His light in the darkness
  • Thank God for redemption and forgiveness.  Pray for God’s redemption and forgiveness for your child’s sinful choices.  Our children are never beyond our prayers. The sovereign, all-powerful God can go where you cannot.

It hurts to watch our children struggle and fail, stumble and fall.  While we can’t assist the doctor with setting the broken bone, we can ask the Great Physician to heal a life. Pray unceasingly, asking God to do a mighty work.  Our children are never beyond God’s reach.

About the writer:
Teri is passionate about teaching, writing, and ministering to fellow sojourners. She and husband, Ken, spend their days working in ministry and their evenings and weekends raising their last of five children at home, a fifteen-year-old son.