Jordyn Grace clung to her mama as the waters rose in Houston, as they were swept away in a parking lot, swept down a swirling canal, swept into the monstrous terror of Harvey. Jordyn Grace’s mama never let go of her 3-year-old baby girl with her pink back-pack still strapped on, though her own spirit had left her...When they found shivering Jordyn Grace bobbing on the water, held by her lifeless mama, she whispered, “Mama was saying her prayers.” And a grieving world asks, “Why, God?” We sit scared with the family on the roof of their apartment building and watch in horror as the waters rise, higher, only higher. We weep with the lone man sitting in his dark, flooded home making a melody out of the minor notes… the room with its memories of happier songs, sweeter times. Our hearts break as cancer wins again. 1-year-old, brave Smiley Seth passes from his mothers’ arms into the arms of Jesus… and we weep.
“Why this, God?”
What if suffering didn’t leave us questioning God – but left us seeing that God is always the answer? What if we saw that God answered every one of our prayers by giving us more of Himself? Storms are a terrible, ugly, necessary part of this life and He is there in the very midst of it. The suffering. The devastation. The crying out… Oh how He is so very there. Uprooting. Cutting away. Strengthening. Healing. Filling. Loving. Always loving. He does not say, “Do not fear, for I will give you all the answers.” He does not say, “Do not fear, for I will take away all your pain.” Our Abba Father, with the wounded hands, offers this wide open embrace, “Do not fear – for I am here.” So, what if, in the suffering, the question isn’t so much “Why this?” but “What for?”
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2
With-ness breaks brokenness and He who is with you is greater than the suffering around you. When our whole world comes crashing down, God does not ask that we deny it or ignore it. He asks us to hold space for it and believe that something there, in the suffering, holds sustenance for the soul. When the floodwaters rise, He asks us to take His hands and let everything else go. We can’t strive and clutch. It doesn’t work. This is what it looks like, friends. It costs. It goes against our every fiber, against every ounce of what we feel. And it is always always worth fighting through. The world before us changes when Why becomes What for … We believe harder, we love farther, we love deeper…When all our Why’s fade into What for’s our deep pain leads to what we were made for – Vulnerable Faith, Extraordinary Generosity, Brave Love – for such a time as this.
Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.”
Passages to read: Psalm 91, Psalm 136, 1 John 4:7-19