“Lord, do You not care…?” Luke 10:40 ESV (38-42 for entire story)
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15 NKJV
This year, our daughter’s small backyard garden produced a bumper tomato crop, so with great anticipation, we set aside an entire day for me to show her the finer points of canning homemade salsa. As we washed, diced and jarred the tomatoes, onions and peppers, we talked about life and family and our world. In the midst of it all, she asked one or two heavy questions that still linger in my thoughts. Before I share the questions, allow me to give you part of the short answer I gave her. “I don’t know. But I know we can trust Him.”
With obvious emotion she asked, “Mom, why did God allow a woman with several young children to die of cancer?” The heartfelt question that came amid the dicing of tomatoes and jalapenos, demanded more than a memorized theological answer. Keeping my hands busy with the task of canning, I thought/prayed how to answer her question. Even as I was secretly thankful she intuitively understood the larger issue of God’s control over all circumstances. Even tragedy.
Have such questions ever lodged in your heart? Have you ever thought deeply about why a divorce or why singleness? Why an addiction or why a betrayal? Why financial ruin or a broken relationship? Why the death of a child or the death of a hoped-for dream? Pain begs for an answer.
In today’s verses, we see two contrasting examples of facing the inevitable pain of real life. When Martha was confronted with the minor irritation of no help in the kitchen, she spoke almost harshly to the Lord Jesus, when she asked, “Lord, don’t You care?” By contrast, we read of Job, who has just been given the news that everything he owns has been stolen by an invading army, and all his servants killed. As this news hits his ears and before there’s time to digest the reality, another servant shows up to tell him the devastating news that all his children have perished in a freak accident. (Read Job 1 and 2). Job’s first response is to worship God. He knew he dare not give priority to his emotions; he spoke out what he knew to be true rather than allow his emotions to do the leading. A couple of chapters and several more trials later, we hear Job say, *“Though the Lord slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Perhaps Martha was too self-focused as she rushed and hurried and grumbled… Whatever the reason, she snapped at the Lord Himself and accused Him of not caring.
Though Job didn’t understand the why of his horrific pain, he knew his God and he knew His character. So even in the midst of such guttural ache … he trusted.
Back to my daughter’s heartbreaking question – I could have offered to bullet-point Bible verses that academically explain God’s sovereign control over all things, or sin’s impact on our broken world, or God’s ability to bring good out of even the vilest circumstance, etc. But I did none of those. Now wasn’t the time. I admitted to her that I did not know the why of such tragedy, but I did know that we could trust God with it. Reminding her of the story that she’s heard repeated since childhood. Of her own brother and sister who died as babies, and how such tragedy taught me (still teaches me) to trust my Father God even when, (especially when), I don’t understand.
The best answer to a hurting heart is simply, “I am so sorry for your pain.”Becky White
The truth is we may never know the why of a particular trauma this side of eternity. It’s enough to know our God is good and faithful and He can be trusted. Even with, and in, our pain. If He gave the life of His Son for us, surely we can trust Him when we don’t understand.
Father, I know You are good, and You are faithful, but there are times when life’s pain blinds us of that truth. Please enable us to rest in You as we walk through tragedy, or as we walk with others in their pain. We choose to trust You even when we don’t understand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I lay my “whys” before Your cross in worship kneeling, my mind too numb for thought, my heart beyond all feeling: And worshipping, I realize that I in knowing You don’t need a “why”.– Ruth Bell Graham
Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus
*Some may say that God did not cause Job’s pain, but surely, we must agree that his trial came as a direct result of God’s permission.