A Testimony of “Through”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5  ESV

It is so encouraging to hear testimonies of God’s miraculous intervention into someone’s life circumstance. In fact, to encourage others, I have a few of my own that I regularly share. Maybe you do too. But there’s another kind of testimony that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, those of God’s miraculous power to walk us through our trials. Let’s face it, aren’t those the kind of testimonies that most of us can relate to, and need to hear?

But this kind of story doesn’t come easy, it can only be gained by walking through the fire. Not around or over, but through. While there are many reasons God may allow His people to suffer, one of them includes enabling us to be living examples to other hurting folks. A picture of what it looks like when God chooses not to remove our difficulties, but of His power to sustain and even strengthen us in the midst of them.

There are hurting people all around us, with no hope of a miracle around the corner of their circumstances. The cancer is terminal. The divorce papers have been signed. The nursery remains empty. The pink slip has arrived. It’s then, that folks need to see authentic hope displayed in how we suffer. As we cry the same hot tears, enduring the same heartaches and pain, but with an assurance that no matter what things look like, He is good, He can be trusted and He is faithful. Yes, we grapple with questions and cry out in our pain, but in the end, we rest our head on the pillow of His sovereignty and goodness. Reminding ourselves that if He loved us so much that He did not spare His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all, surely, we can trust Him with “this.”

Be assured, that whatever test you’re walking through today, He can, and will, use it as a testimony to a watching world. Whether that testimony is of His miraculous intervention or of His sustaining power – be assured that He will use every second of it, and every detail of it, for your good and His glory. Author, Kay Arthur puts it best, “He lets you hurt as others hurt, knowing that the way in which you handle it will be a testimony, and your response will show others that there’s something awesomely different about you.” And that difference, is our relationship with Jesus Christ. In all we face, He is the difference maker.

The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that “He giveth songs in the night,” He must first make it night. —William Taylor

Father, Please use all we walk through, and all that touches our lives, for Your glory and as a display of Your faithfulness to those around us. Infuse us with Your strength and grant us Your perspective. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or get a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Rock Flowers

One of my favorite, Streams in the Desert devotionals (11/23).

To all my fellow “rock flowers.” He is up to something in the hard places of your life and mine (see James 1), let’s trust Him in our seasons of blessing and seasons of pain. – Your fellow rock flower, Becky White

Thou hast shewed thy people hard things – Ps 60:3

I have always been glad that the Psalmist said to God that some things were hard. There is no mistake about it; there are hard things in life. Some beautiful pink flowers were given me this summer, and as I took them I said, “What are they?” And the answer came, “They are rock flowers; they grow and bloom only on rocks where you can see no soil.” Then I thought of God’s flowers growing in hard places; and I feel, somehow, that He may have a peculiar tenderness for His “rock flowers” that He may not have for His lilies and roses. —Margaret Bottome

The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a man’s business but build up his character. The blow at the outward man may be the greatest blessing to the inner man. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is what we shall lose if we flinch or rebel. —Maltbie D. Babcock

“Heroes are forged on anvils hot with pain, And splendid courage comes but with the test.
Some natures ripen and some natures bloom Only on blood-wet soil, some souls prove great Only in moments dark with death or doom.”

“God gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

Because You Prayed

Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Because you have prayed to Me …”

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Isaiah 37:21a NASB     James 5:16a NASB

In the middle of the crisis, it just didn’t occur to me. Busily making decisions and finding solutions as I dealt with the reality in front of me, I forgot all about praying. Only as the crisis subsided did it occur to me that I had completely forgotten … to pray. Not even a whisper of, “Help, Lord!” came from my lips or heart. Honestly, I would like you to think I’m so spiritual that it’s always my first response, but it’s not. Try as I might, there are (many) times when I react, rather than pray, and then ask God to bless my hurried response.

 While reading through the OT book of Isaiah I noticed a stunning phrase that leapt off the page at me. “Because you have prayed to Me”… The LORD goes on to express what He will do for King Hezekiah simply because he prayed. This praying king is confronted with a physical army coming against him on the outside, along with taunts intended to strike a paralyzing fear within him. The army’s leaders mock the king for trusting in God, “After all”, they tell him, “Have any other nations so-call gods, saved them? What makes you think your god will be any different?”

“Because you have prayed to Me“… I picked up the phrase and held it to the light, taking in the depth of truth embedded within. Wondering out loud I asked, “Father, why does prayer move Your hand?” His Spirit spoke this simple thought to my heart; To pray is to trust.

To pray is to humble ourselves and acknowledge that we need Him. That He alone has the answers. Prayer breathes out the truth that He is mighty and able to answer and then help us. Even if His answer is “no, or wait.”

Our only guaranteed outcome is that He is always good,
and always faithful. And we can trust Him.

Becky White

God went on to give King Hezekiah a tremendous victory that day. Through this praying king’s real-life crisis, I am reminded that our God’s mighty hand is moved through simple, trusting prayer.

Whatever crisis you’re facing, whether it’s monumental in scope or a pebble-in-the-shoe irritation, pray. Right now, this moment, unburden your heart. I don’t know how He will respond, but this I know … He will respond … and He will honor your faith to seek His face.

Prayer is my acknowledgement that I need God, while my lack of prayer reveals the opposite.

Becky White

Father, please forgive my pride, I know that’s the real issue of my heart. Go ahead, do whatever it takes to remind me of this truth – I need You. Period. For all things and in everything. Forgive my self-sufficient attitude. I lay _____________ in Your hands, please move in that situation, Father. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Turkey, Pumpkin Pie and Thankfulness

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—

Psalm 103: 1-2 AMPC

Beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Deuteronomy 6:12

How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me? Psalm 116:12 BSB

I love all the sights and smells that “Thanksgiving” evokes. The aroma of turkey roasting in the oven, the smell of sage stuffing, and of course, pumpkin pie. I love the beautiful chaos of children, grandchildren and children-in-law, all clamoring and spilling drinks and asking for dessert much too early – all as we drink in the blessings of family and good food. The American Thanksgiving Holiday (That can be celebrated everywhere, of course!). A day purposefully set aside to remember and then give thanks to God for all the blessings He’s given us.

Thanksgiving Day also brings up meaningful memories of serving dinner to our friends at an urban ministry (Columbus Dream Center), many who have none of the trappings I just described. Some with a mere canvas “roof” over their head, a “bed” of cardboard, and only a lap for a table. I (and countless others) have personally experienced challenging holidays, layered with loneliness and financial lack, and the emotional pain of grief or loss. Such challenges can make Thanksgiving Day a little more complicated.

Where do you find yourself today? Are your overwhelmed by His goodness or overwhelmed by grief? Overwhelmed by His faithfulness or overwhelmed by tragic circumstances? Maybe both?

Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving season, may I (gently) encourage you to purposefully ask the Lord to bring His good gifts to mind? Every. Single One. It could be that you have a “Thankful” list ready to post on FB or share with your family.  Or maybe it will take deep thought and possibly tears, to pull together a post-it note list. Though I don’t know where you land today, He does. And He is the same faithful God today, that He was last week, last decade or when King David penned the Psalm that reminds us to bless the Lord and forget not one of His benefits.

This year, I am so very thankful that He brought me out of my “land of Egypt” and my own self-created house of bondage. I am forever thankful that He has blessed me with another day of life, and beyond thankful for my amazing family (natural and spiritual) and yes,  I’m even thankful for the trials He’s trusted me with, trials that continue to refine and mold me for His purposes.

Wherever this Thanksgiving Day finds us, let’s turn our minds and hearts to the Lord God and offer thanks to Him.

Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Father God, Faithful Lord, Precious Savoir, I am so very thankful for Your hand of blessing and favor on my life. From my salvation, to a heart that continues to beat, to my favorite Thanksgiving Day foods, to the challenges You’ve walked me through. I bow in awe of Your goodness toward me. Thank You! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Strength for the Weary One

Encourage the exhausted, strengthen the weary,

say to those with an anxious heart, “Take courage. Fear not.”

He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might (strength), He increases power.

God is our Refuge and Strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Isaiah 35:3-4a   Isaiah 40:29   Psalm 46:1   NASB

It’s been said that most of us can endure just about anything as long as it’s short in duration. As long as we see a glimmer of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But when the light we hoped for is really an on-coming-train version of a trial or a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me challenge, we fall to our emotional knees. Exhausted and weary. Hoping and praying for a quick ending, we suddenly realize there are no magic wands to wave away real life. Real pain. Real heartache.

If our country’s chasm-deep divide isn’t enough, if a potentially life-threatening viral pandemic isn’t enough and if financial uncertainties aren’t enough to be a recipe for flat-out weariness… throw in regular ‘ol life challenges such as relationship issues, parenting, loss, rejection, death, divorce and loneliness… The almost inevitable result – Weary. Exhausted. No strength.

Recently, I walked through just such a trial with a loved one. A trial that caused my eyes to dart about the tunnel of difficulty for a glimmer of hoped-for light. My tunnel of difficulty didn’t suddenly burst with the light of a miraculous removal of pain. As I emotionally peered into the quiet darkness of difficulty, unsure of what might lay ahead… I could “hear” my Lord’s voice speak…

He gives strength to the weary.

He encourages the exhausted.

He increases power to those who lack might.

Though I much prefer a problem-free life, that’s seldom borne out in our real-world experiences is it? And because that is the case, He lavishes His strength on us and in us. He encourages us from the inside out when there is no good reason to be encouraged, He infuses power into these power-less vessels of ours. He sustains the weary one with His very Presence.

“If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty, but impossibility.”

Streams in the Desert

Whether your present trial is an ongoing pebble-in-the-shoe irritation, a soul-deep ache of pain or the death of _______ (You fill in the blank). His grace is sufficient. His strength is perfect. I know…You would rather He remove your pain, remove your trial. He may. But whatever He chooses – trust Him. Whatever it looks like. No matter the whispered lies of the enemy or your own mind that tells you otherwise…Trust the One Who freely gave the life of His Son on your behalf, to hold no good thing back from you.

My Father, How my heart aches at what I see and hear. Please, infuse your mighty strength into me as I speak out loud – You are good, and You are faithful.  I trust You! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

When “Giving Thanks” isn’t so Easy

Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.    Hebrews 13:15 AMP

In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP

Recently, our pastor reminded us that the season between Thanksgiving and New Years has the highest rate of depression and suicide attempts. So that means, while many of us are prepping our turkeys, gulping glasses of eggnog, eating way too many cookies or admiring a beautifully lit tree, others among us are drowning in hopelessness and despair.  All the while, watching others around them with seemingly Instagram-perfect lives. (As if that’s reality, but I digress…) Our hearts should ache for those struggling through this season.

I confess that it’s all too easy for me to give thanks when I have the blessings of a warm bed or full belly or good relationships. It takes no sacrifice to give thanks in such scenarios. But I find it does take deliberate effort to be thankful, because my default setting is to take His gifts for granted. To forget that all I have is a gift from His hand. From the breath in my lungs, to my amazing husband and our family, to the heater under our kitchen table (and strategically placed by my feet.) All of it. Gifts from Him.

I have also learned experientially the importance of giving thanks for “gifts” that, at first blush, are more like the proverbial “ugly sweater” gift. When financial challenges engulfed me, He provided and enabled me to give thanks for the few packages of Ramen noodles and can of chicken that became a casserole for five children. Or the times when relational betrayal or the pain of regret for my own bad choices laid me bare and yet He provided forgiveness and healing through my Lord Jesus. And has brought beauty from ashes.

Teaching us the invaluable lesson of giving thanks to Him in all circumstances, not just pleasant circumstances.

Then I think of those celebrating Thanksgiving Day who are behind bars or sitting at a makeshift tent-campsite or those handling funeral arrangements as they simultaneously battle the ache of grief or those coping with an all-encompassing loneliness that this season seems to amplify. When folks in such circumstances give thanks through a whispered prayer of gratitude to the Lord Jesus, it is a priceless “sacrifice of praise” that honors our God. Folks who are purposely giving thanks, even if they must search through the debris of a trial or pain, to do so.

For one moment, let’s step back from our turkey dinners and contemplate the challenges our neighbors might be walking through and consider what a sacrifice it may be for them to utter the words, “Thank you, God.”

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? Is there a person who comes to mind as you read these words? As we celebrate this special day, set aside to give thanks to God for His great blessings, in whatever form they come, let’s remember those struggling the season. Pray. Reach out. Be a blessing. Let’s be His hands and feet to all He puts in our path. There is hope. And it is found in Jesus Christ.

“As a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your ‘step of faith.’”

– Joni Eareckson Tada

Happy Thanksgiving!

Father, I am in awe of the gifts You’ve so freely given. Life. Salvation. Breath. Genuine hope because of Christ. Help me to remember, and not forget, Your good hand of favor on my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Peanut Butter Cups

“…to the hungry soul any bitter thing is sweet.”

Proverbs 27:7 AMP

God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. Psalm 73:26 AMPC

Yeshua (Jesus) said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever trusts in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 43:2a

I love Reese’s cups, especially the newer offering that has a peanut butter shell with peanut butter filling. Mmmmm. Dee licious. Have I mentioned how much I love all things peanut butter? Yet, as much as I appreciate a good Reese’s cup, when my stomach growls with hunger, the bright orange package shouldn’t be what I reach for. Yes, it will stop my hunger pangs, but if I repeat this too many times, I’ll have long-term negative consequences.  But wait a minute, what if my cupboards were bare and my pockets empty? What if, in my hunger, I thought that the sugary peanut butter treat was my only option to fill the ache in my belly?

As I mulled over the scripture in Proverbs 27, I couldn’t help but think of the world around us. A world that is literally “starving” for hope, peace, purpose and the removal of fear/anxiety/panic …. This emptiness has led to starvation of the soul, where, “any bitter thing is sweet.” Spiritually speaking, reaching for a Reese’s in the form of pleasure or money or sex minus God’s guidelines, or gathering as many “likes” / hits as possible or by social activism or “religious” and/or spiritual activity (the possibilities are endless). When the sun goes down and dark silence envelops us, the ache remains and the hunger endures.

On the flip side, many of us are so “full-bellied and satisfied” that we’ve failed to notice those starving right in front of us. Failed to look beyond our own homecooked-meal comfort to notice the ache of empty bellies all around us. Folks who have settled for the quick Reese’s cup or something much worse, when we know the Bread of Life Himself. While it’s true we cannot (and should not) force feed the manna of God’s Word, are we at least offering it to those around us or at least living a life (by His grace) that causes others to want what we have? Do I?

My heart aches for the “starving” folks all around us who have stuffed themselves with all the world has to offer and yet their soul-deep ache and emptiness remain. Here’s my challenge to you (and myself), each time we see a Reese’s cup, let’s use that lip-smacking orange package as a reminder to pray for those around us. Or, let it be a reminder that your ache cannot be filled with anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Reach out to Him, He will meet you right where you’re at. (For more information, call 1-888-NEEDHIM or text (320) 345-3455 or click https://needhim.org/chat-now/)

“There is a God–shaped vacuum in the heart of each man, which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”

– Blaise Pascal

Father, please reveal to me where I’m seeking to fill soul-deep needs with the junk food of the world. Please also give me Your eyes and heart for the starving people all around me. Please use my life to honor You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Does Your Life Bring Glory to God?

Recently, I came across this years-old devotional I wrote several years ago and couldn’t help but think of those walking through knee-deep trials right now. As you read the devotion, think of how differently God defines the events of our lives and perhaps where you and I might be tempted to doubt His goodness along the way.

Does Your Life Glorify God?

[Jesus said to His disciplines] “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” John 12:23 NIV

“…for the Son of Man to be glorified…”  If I didn’t know what was about to happen to Jesus, I would be excited at the prospect of Him being glorified. But I do know what comes next. He’s going to be arrested for something He didn’t do, get slapped across the face for refusing to answer the High Priest, suffer the agony of His beard being plucked out for the amusement of cruel guards and beaten until unrecognizable as human (Isaiah 53). The Son of Man was stripped naked and nailed to a wooden cross.  And just when you think the cruelty and humiliation can’t get any worse, bystanders taunt Him one last time. “If you’re really the Son of God, come down off that cross!” and then they spit at Him.

Being aware of all that was to come, the one word that would not come to my mind is glorified. Abandoned, rejected, abused, maybe… but not glorified. Of course, Jesus did know all that would befall Him as He spoke those words. That’s what makes His statement so out of place to me.

Jesus’ mockery of a trial, ruthless beatings, and death (and then His bodily resurrection) were used as tools to bring glory to God. Jesus willingness to be our Scapegoat (Leviticus 16)  brought glory and honor to Himself like nothing else could. The Son of Man was glorified!

If you find yourself knee-deep in difficulties, the Lord doesn’t require your understanding, but He does want your trust. He is more than able to bring glory to His name through your life’s circumstances. Even circumstances, that surface-level, seem disfigured and ugly. What an honor it is to bring glory to His name!

“…we will stand amazed to see the topside of the tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for our good and His glory.”

― Joni Eareckson Tada

“Father, I don’t understand why I’m in this trial. And I don’t like it. But — I am willing to obey You no matter what. Grant me the ability to walk through this valley and to do so without bitterness. You don’t require my understanding, only my trust. Glorify Yourself through my life.” In Jesus, name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Free Devotional – Stony Paths

Stony Paths – Learning to trust Him

as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

Recently, a friend asked what drew me to write a book on the topic of trusting God. The answer came immediately….

Let me share with you what I told him that day … I was confronted with emergency open heart surgery with no time to think through the seriousness of the situation. The doctors explained that with a near total blockage in what is often referred to as the “widow maker”, I had no time to spare … this was life and death … surgery was needed immediately. While I am no spring chicken and would never be confused for an athlete, I am in decent physical condition, try to eat healthy and exercise, so this news came as a complete shock to my husband and I. Understanding what must be done, we held hands and prayed together, thanking our heavenly Father for His flawless timing and protection on my behalf (and asking Him to help the surgeons of course!).

Days later, as I became fully aware of what had actually happened and how close I came to dying, I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord. So excited to share with nurses, friends, housekeeping staff … anyone who would listen, about how the Lord spared my life. Of how good God is. How loving and faithful. But then it hit me … like being smacked across the face. What if He had said “no” to our prayers of healing? What if God had not caused the blockage to become known and I had died suddenly? What if my husband was planning my funeral rather than planning my home therapy sessions? And what about the people who heard me gush about my near-fatal experience? What if they had a family member who faced the same scenario but their mother or wife or friend had died instead of the miraculous intervention I had experienced?

This question reverberated in my heart – Is God still good and is He still worthy of trust, even when the answer is No? Is my trust in Him total and complete or is it only for particular outcomes?

We trust Him for finances or safety. We trust Him for basic necessities. We trust Him for healing. And we should. But there is a still deeper level of trust that our Father God is calling us to. A trust that stands alone – separate from our hoped-for outcome. To simply trust Him, no matter the outcome. A trust in the goodness of God based on His word that tells us that if He was willing to give the life of His Son for us, is there anything He will withhold? You see, if we look at the Cross of Christ as our backdrop, then we can look the rawest reality in the face with the knowledge that if He has allowed it, I can trust that He has a plan, a purpose and that He knows what is ultimately best for me.

“If God Sends Us On Stony Paths He Provides Strong Shoes.”

Corrie ten Boom

I still share with anyone willing to listen to what the Lord did for me … but I always bring it around to this point: Even if He had called me home that day, He is still good, He is still faithful and I trust Him.

Even when we don’t understand. He is worthy of our trust.

Though I must admit that I have cheated a bit on this whole trusting the Lord thing, you see, He’s given me lots of practice. Maybe He’s done the same for you too. I’ve buried two children; I’ve walked through betrayal as well as financial collapse and as with many folks, childhood brought its own set of challenges. And if that weren’t enough, I made plenty of messes that caused great distress for me and others. Through it all, I have learned by experience that our Father God can be trusted – no matter the outcome and no matter the reason for our mess.

As you read through the devotions in this book, it is my prayer that the Lord will enable you to look your darkest challenge in the face and know with certainty that He loves you. That your Father God is trustworthy. No matter the outcome. He will walk you through this. You are not alone. He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. With that as your life’s backdrop, be intentional about viewing all you walk through as filtered through His fingers. He’s got this. Let’s trust Him as we walk the stony paths of life.

To purchase a hard copy of Stony Paths, visit the products page or visit Lulu Publishing. It may also be purchased on Amazon.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Salsa and Life

“Lord, do You not care…?” Luke 10:40 ESV (38-42 for entire story)

Homemade Salsa

“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.

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