Deafening news echoed through the streets of our community and the hallways of our schools. A typical day turned into a memory seared into our minds and hearts.
I awoke to the sound of my phone Thursday morning unaware that the looming experience would change the course of life for so many. There was no information about what had occurred at the address and no way to prepare my mind and heart for the experiences that would follow.
As I went through the day, the image of a precious little girl lying on the ground and the sounds of a broken mother haunted my memory. The tears and questions from siblings trying to find understanding seemed inescapable. As a pastor, these are the moments when words fail. Just as many struggled with questions, I found myself in the same battle to find resolve – to find answers.
I wish I had answers that could immediately take away the pain and mend the broken hearts, but I do not. For those in our community, struggling with the events of the day, I want to offer the truths that I am holding onto this very moment.
Suffering is Real
I long for the day when sin and death are no more, but that is not today. I look forward to a time when there are no more tears and pain, but that is not today. Today, the pain is real, the suffering is real, and death has dealt a blow to our lives, leaving us wanting. We want the suffering to end, and we want the pain to be relieved.
For some, the only option they see is ending their life. In the trap of despair, darkness and the world entice us with mirages of hope. In our attempt to soothe the pain we throw ourselves into these fabrications of false hope only to find ourselves in more pain and sorrow. The thoughts of hopelessness begin to increase and become louder than the truths of our God, our Creator.
As we search for answers, it is easy to become mislead by the false hope of having the answers. What could we have done? Was there something we missed? Was it my fault? Why did this happen? We think that having the answers to these questions will offer the resolve we need, only to find that we are suffocated by the waterfall of questions that come after them.
Suffering is real. It is a part of life that we cannot escape this side of heaven. As Believers, it is not a matter of whether we will face suffering, because we will. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). This idea sounds pessimistic and hopeless, but it is not. How do we know? Because even though the pain is real, the hope of Christ offers something far greater.
God is Greater
In that same verse, Jesus told his disciples to fear not because he has overcome the world. As we hear the questions, echo in our minds, and as the tears flow in mourning, we must hold on to the truth that in Christ, there is hope no matter the pain in our lives.
God is great enough to handle my questions. He is not shaken by my questions of doubt. He is not insulted by my struggles to trust that he is good. He is great enough to understand that my mind is battling to convince my heart of the truths of Scripture. He is loving enough to know the count of every tear that falls and hold the pieces of a broken heart in his hands.
God is greater than today. This immediate moment or the memory that is burned into our minds does not limit God’s ability to see me through the circumstances. He is eternal; he sees the grand scheme of life when I am blinded by the pain of the present.
God is good. There is no darkness in him, though it seems like the darkness of this world clouds his glory. I do not understand, but I can trust who he is and how he is at work. He loves us and those that are suffering. His heart breaks with ours, and he sheds tears over our pain and suffering.
Yes, suffering is real, but my God is greater. As a pastor, these are the truths that I hold onto in times like these.