Thursday, March 6, 2008

No explanations, only the promise of His presence

There are days when words simply fail us. Today is one of those days. Our community grieves the tragic loss of two of our young people. Our hearts and prayers go out to their friends, teachers and families. We once again find ourselves confronted with the reality of suffering in our lives and in the lives of those we love. Suffering has become shockingly personal. We want answers. We want explanations. We want there to be reasons for our suffering. Unfortunately, there are no answers that satisfy, no explanations that make the pain go away.

Instead, we cling to the promise of God that he will never leave us or forsake us. Dr. Paul Brand was a man familiar with suffering. A famous doctor, he spent most of his life ministering to lepers in India. He came to realize that God is not in the things that hurt us, but that God is in us, the ones who hurt. That is after all what compassion means, to suffer with. God suffers along side us – when we mourn, when we hurt – comforting us in our pain.

As God comforts us, he asks us to live by faith, trusting him even when we don’t understand why things happen. Faith has been described as “believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” So we encourage one another to keep the faith that his grace will carry us through the pain. To keep the faith that his love will outlast the suffering. To keep the faith that his kingdom of peace and wholeness will one day finally replace this world of strife and brokenness. May, today, we be a people who know his presence and trust his love.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23

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