The past several months have been very hard for some special friends of mine. A dear friend’s husband was diagnosed with leukemia and has undergone a bone marrow transplant. Another long-time friend was just diagnosed with Hodgkin s Lymphoma and began her treatment just the other day. My heart aches and breaks for these wonderful godly families and the sorrow and suffering they are enduring.
When things are hard and there seem to be no answers, our human emotions tell us that God is a casual observer of life, that He does not or must not care about suffering. Biblical thinking reminds us that in each event He is working out good for the believer who loves him. Each event is completely purposeful, as well as intricately planned and guided by Him. Emotions tell us that it is wrong to let people suffer in this way. After listening to a conversation similar to this one, a friend once said, “God is mean.”
Can you really trust God when misfortune or adversity strikes? Can you really trust God when your life is filled with pain? Emotions answer with a resigned “What’s my choice?” We find ourselves in the default position of “If I don’t trust God is trustworthy, then what?” Emotions want an immediate bail-out from adversity and relief from the pain. We want it to be over.
Biblical thinking reminds us that suffering is purposeful and should be expected by believers because we are sojourners in this wicked world. Biblical thinking also tells us that it is contrary to the character of God to passively and casually observe human suffering. God is active and involved in our suffering.
Many times I hear counselee’s say that if they only understood what God was doing, they would feel better. We long for understanding when we are suffering. We believe that if God would pull back the curtain and let us peek into the future and see how this all turns out, we could cope with it better.
The faithless heart is a heart that lacks trust in God and His sovereignty. This is essentially a character assassination of God!
Look again at the synonyms for unfaithful. When you react and respond emotionally, can you see how you are actually saying that God is not following through on His promises to you? You are actually saying that God is betraying your trust in Him? You are really saying that God is deceitful and treacherous?
If you do not believe God is faithful and trustworthy, then where is your hope? Can you see how your thinking has a tremendous effect on your life? There is a close relationship between what you think and believe and how you feel!
If you have no faith or trust that God is who He says He is in the Bible, you will struggle mightily with depression. You will be tossed about by the trials this life brings and see yourself as a victim of everything. You will be, as James says, unstable in all you do.
So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)