Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How do I live when things just don't make sense?

On seeing Ghana, West Africa, for the first time, my mind couldn't wrap around the fact that on the same small planet such diverse living conditions could simultaneously exist.  I faced the reality of the abundance of my life versus the lack that my Ghanian friends face daily.  I didn't understand it.  I knew that the life I've been blessed with was unearned and undeserved. I saw the life of sacrificial commitment to Christ that so many of those I met were living, and I knew that I should be learning from them and not them from me.  It all just made no sense.

While life has certainly not been completely free from suffering, loss, and pain for me,  I know that I have been spared and sheltered from so much when I see and hear of some of the things that others have gone through.  I know that while I am planning and preparing for my daughter's wedding, my friends, leaders in our church, are preparing for their daughter's funeral.  It all just makes no sense.

When I heard that Nepal experienced another earthquake yesterday, almost as bad as the one they recently experienced and have yet to recover from,  I felt heartsick and helpless.  Then, last night my husband and I made the mistake of watching the movie, The Impossible, right before bed.  It's the true story of a family who survived the 2004 tsunami.  After watching all of the horror that they went through to survive and the miraculous way they were reunited, the movie ends with them being flown away for medical care in Singapore.  Somehow the movie was able to capture the emotion of them facing the inequity of the fact that they were spared and whisked away from all of the devastation while hundreds of thousands were not.  It just made no sense.

Here's what I do know.  While Jesus was on this earth He went to a wedding.  In fact, He miraculously provided wine for the wedding so that the party wasn't cut short when the wine supply ran out.  I'm sure that while He was at the celebration, suffering happened in some home right there in the same town where He was partying, right there in Cana of Galilee.  It's possible, maybe even probable, that someone in Cana died that day.   While it makes no sense to me that He didn't spend His thirty three and a half years on planet  earth eliminating all of the suffering for everyone, He was at peace just doing what the Father told Him to do and saying what the Father told Him to say and trusting the rest into the Father's hands.  He knew that the Father had a big picture finale planned for dealing with this sin scarred world.  There is a Day coming, a Great Day marked on the Father's calendar,  when tears will be wiped away, suffering will cease, and planet earth will be made new.  But,  Jesus lived on planet earth in the not yet, and so do we. 

 So, how do I live when the suffering around me just doesn't make sense?  I do what is right in front of me to do, trying my best to listen to God's voice, trying my best to do what He says to do and say what He wants me to say.  Then I have to simply trust God with the rest.

 This coming Saturday I will weep with those who are weeping at a funeral. The following Saturday I will rejoice with those who are rejoicing as my youngest daughter gets married.  My daughter is getting married!  I'm so deeply, deeply happy and am confident that this marriage is God's doing.  So, I'm going to follow Jesus' example and do what He said to do. When those wedding songs are played, I'm going to kick off my shoes, rejoice, celebrate, and dance.   

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  1. Yes, yes and yes. Well put.... (you know, Cornelia wrote pretty much the same thing this week--how do we deal with the huge horrors of an earthquake on the other side of the world? Bless those who are right in front of you.)
    Praying health for you all in the weeks ahead.

  2. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep...
    ♥ to you and all whose sorrows and joys you share.

  3. Keep on keepin' on .. in His path.

  4. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend the magnificent difference in our lives here in the USA with other countries. I think it's wonderful that those who visit foreign lands share their experience in honesty, as you have done. Thank you for reminding me that others are in need and want, and still worship the Lord in gladness. The lady in your picture is beautiful and the children precious in the sight God!

  5. Such a profound, food for thought message. Really enjoyed reading it. Congratulations to your daughter. Condolences for the loss.

  6. Oh, what an important post, Elizabeth. Watching the news can be so depressing if we can't keep this perspective that you talk about. I so need your encouraging words:

    "So, how do I live when the suffering around me just doesn't make sense? I do what is right in front of me to do, trying my best to listen to God's voice, trying my best to do what He says to do and say what He wants me to say. Then I have to simply trust God with the rest."

    Amen. Thank you for sharing this. And congratulations on your daughter's upcoming wedding!!! Exciting times!!!

  7. Life is very this post how you were able to convey the ups and downs that happen everyday.
    Yes, your daughter's wedding is the work of the Lord...enjoy and rejoice!!!...and dance!!!!

  8. Loved reading your words again today. What do you do? You listen to His voice - and follow His plan. That's the only way to find peace in the middle of a world that makes no sense. Weep with those who have lost their dear one - and rejoice with your daughter for the beautiful answer to prayer she celebrates soon. That's what we are told to do - it's His plan!

  9. Yes! I love this: "I do what is right in front of me to do, trying my best to listen to God's voice, trying my best to do what He says to do and say what He wants me to say. Then I have to simply trust God with the rest." A friend said to me today that our job was to be a lighthouse and not the Coast Guard most of the time. It's hard not to want to save the world, but I think we do more good than we know when we are shining His light to those around us and in prayer.

  10. I think you have really hit the nail on the head here. There is so much suffering in the world and we live so comfortably. There is death, but there is also joy. I think that doing what is right in front of me, listening to God is great advice and I appreciate you sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings to you as your daughter gets married, what a wonderful thing.


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