Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Love Divine All Loves Excelling"1 (Lyrics)
As a father of four, it warms my heart to see new life, especially newborn babies, because they tug at my own memories at the core of my being. But online photographs of twins born last December sent a pang of sorrow through my heart because of the poignancy of pictures. One of the twins was born with a heart defect that meant that he was destined to live but a short eleven days.
Death is a sensitive subject to touch on, which I do not do lightly, because it reaches to the centre of our being, and can easily cause offence to those grieving.
Naturally, we want to ask of a good, compassionate, and loving God, Why?
I have trained myself not to ask of God "Why?" in an accusatorial tone, because, in my experience, there is little or nothing to be gained.
Instead, I like to redirect my thoughts to what I believe are more constructive questions, such as Where are You in this? What can I do about it? What can I learn? How does this inform me about Your purposes?
Still in this case, my spirit cried out, Why, O Lord? before I could stop it.
Having asked of God, Why? I did not expect an answer, because making demands on God seldom works. Nevertheless, His answer came the next day. It was simple and to the point, found in the landowner's response to the workers' complaints about the unfairness of their wages.
Matthew 20:14-16 – "Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?" So the last will be first, and the first last. (ESV)
It is God Who imparts life, Who enables all to live. Our breaths are numbered and given, as are the hairs on our head. All that we have comes from God, so who are we to question the Giver of life about what is freely given? How can we demand more?
Those who are able can minister to those left behind in their circumstances and situations. It is a mystery that God goes with us in our sorrow.
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (ESV)
We have no basis to make demands apart from God, to have our own way. Yes, we can always act and intercede, but there is only One Who lights the path by the Holy Spirit. That is why He came: to carry our burdens, to be with us when we have lost hope, and to lead us into His light and life, an eternity of His presence.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You that You first loved us. Grant us the skill and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to reach out to those who are hurting and fallen today, and to lift them up. Please forgive our presumption to make selfish demands, and grant that we may know Your presence with us through good and bad. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.