A New Way to Know God Amidst Suffering
When Jesus said this world was full of trouble, He wasn’t kidding. We exist on a planet burdened by all manner of tribulation – poverty, disease, war, and death – just to name a few. Every single one of us will, at some point in our lives, be touched by something devastating that will find us on our knees, pleading for relief from the pain we’re experiencing. It’s a tragic inevitability of this fallen world.
But wait, Jesus didn’t leave you hopeless. How you choose to respond shapes you. If you’re honest, the easiest choice is to let your faith slip through your fingers when you don’t understand why. Faith is understandably difficult under the weight of all the pain this life can bring.
Mike Weaver, lead singer of Big Daddy Weave, has seen his fair share of heartache over the past few years, in a succession of losses that include his father, mother, and most recently, his bandmate and brother. It began with the passing of his father from pulmonary fibrosis on Christmas Day in 2017 – a death that was, he admits, largely unexpected because of how they had seen God’s healing time and time again in his dad’s life over the years. Even as his father struggled for air in his final hours, Mike waited for a miracle. The Lord had been his father’s Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, in some of the grimmest diagnoses from the doctors. In the end, though, that road of earthly healing came to an end as Russ was ushered into his heavenly homecoming.
Mike says watching his father praise God with every labored breath he took in those last days fueled his own faith, but the devastation of the loss afterward was a hard thing to come to grips with. In his grief, his friend and fellow Family Life Radio artist, Micah Tyler, said something so simple and yet so profound:
“When we don’t have the opportunity to know God as Healer, we get to then know Him as our Comforter.”
And therein lies the key to a fuller understanding of the depths of the love the Father has for us. He knew from before his world was even formed at His fingertips that our free will was going to usher in a kind of suffering He never wanted for us, but that He was prepared to extend Himself to us through to help build up our faith, even as the enemy tries his hardest to tear it down. It’s in our darkest moments that we come to know His peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and find our souls infused with a joy that transcends sorrow (Romans 15:13).
When we have had all we can take, we find arms to hold us as we shake and weep, hands to lift us back to our feet, and a holy hope to urge us forward once more (2 Corinthians 1:3, Deuteronomy 31:6).
If life was smooth sailing, we’d never have an opportunity to know God in this way. Even in our deepest valleys, He can redeem the struggle and utilize the pain to bring us even closer to Him.
As Mike Weaver sings in I Know, “I don’t understand the sorrow, but You’re calm within the storm … You are good, I know.”
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