Isaiah 55:8-9“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
As a follower of Christ, I constantly wrestle with God; trying to understand his hands at work. I especially struggle when tragedy strikes. I often ask: "God where are you?" "why?" And the most daunting: "what have we done to be punished in such a way?"
Sorry this blog is not to answer any of the above questions; for my debate with God usually leads me back to his words; Isaiah 55:7-8...Your ways are not my ways…But you are our refuge and strength; so I will not fear…(Psalm 46).
However, this blog is to help in responding with grace while allowing God to be God in the midst of tragedy.
During my last semester in college, I became pregnant by my love but this pregnancy was by far planned. And of course having a child out of wedlock is frowned upon by Christians and non-Christians; deep down inside, every parent wants their children to have children after marriage. That wasn't my story. I was pregnant, living in a dormitory, last semester in college and sick to death. This pregnancy had its way with me. It felt like I was poisoned. I lost 25lbs during the first trimester. And one visit to the emergency room. I was doubtful I would ever finish the semester to graduate. Many people called to check in on me but there was one of phone call, I will never forget. The call started as all the others. “I heard what happened, how are you?” And I went through the list of my symptoms and without missing a beat this woman said "you know when we sin, God punishes. This is God's punishment for your sin".
I was not ready for that.
When we got off the phone, I wept bitterly. A part of me accepted my “punishment”.
But over the years, I’ve questioned God about many other situations.
How do we explain women who miscarry? What sins have they committed? The death of the innocent children in CT. What sins had they committed? And I'm sure you have your own list of unexplained tragedies.
I was beyond hurt by her words. I have forgiven her for her hurtful words but God has used her painful words to teach me how to not approach tragedy when it strikes.
The truth is we cannot always equate sin and tragedy to God's punishment. Does God punish for disobedience? Yes he does. Does he show mercy when his people cry out to Him? Yes he does! Can we always call one situation as punishment over another? That's up to God to decide. Our job is to pray, teach others about God and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice! And whatever you do, when someone’s in the midst of pain, refrain from giving theological answers because no explanation can pacify the pain of the tragic death of a six year old. Instead, sit with them, pray for them, make them a meal, clean their house, do their laundry or take their children out for ice cream.
One friend did exactly just that during that last semester in college. She came over, rubbed my back, greased and massaged my scalp (black hair regiment) and sat with me. I have always been grateful to her for showing me how to love in the midst of difficult times.
For this Christmas season, live out your faith in action! Find someone who seems to “deserve” God’s wrath and punishment and love them deeply with your actions. After all, isn't that the message of Christmas? Christ descending from heaven and loving sinners who deserved punishment.
Brought to you by: ElevateHer International Ministries…Stay tuned!