Several important people in my circles are experiencing serious, life-threatening, health problems. Within the last year, several acquaintances have died. When you hear or experience one of these events, do you ever question whether God is faithful? Good? Do you find it hard to sing about God’s faithfulness when relationships are broken or breaking down, when health or finances are lost?
When we are young and naive we may come to equate health, wholeness, success, etc. with God’s faithful protection. And in the reverse, when we experience brokenness, sometimes we find it difficult to believe that God is faithful and truly for us. But even in difficult times, most believers can name numerous ways in which we KNOW that God has been faithful in the recent past. So, where does our discomfort with God come from?
I have noticed that the greatest discomfort comes NOT from wondering if God is faithful or if he loves me but from the realization (again and again) that his faithfulness may not produce the outcome that I am looking for. I have expectations–even demands–about how God can best protect me and the people I love from pain. I am tempted to give in to despair, bitterness, even anger when an unspoken expectation is shown to be what it is–an assumption I have placed on God that he may not meet. And I find myself saying to God, “I know you have done (all these good things) but what I really want is _________.”
During a song at church this Sunday, I was reminded (If I were charismatic I would say the Lord spoke to me. But I’m Presbyterian so we use different language :)) that this world would be far more broken if not for the Lord’s power to limit the effects of sin on the world. We would have no measure of physical, emotional, or spiritual health if not for God’s restraint of the Evil One. Things are bad in so many ways but God continually is caring for and sustaining us, even in our poverty, sickness, and broken relationships. We become blind or dulled to his constant caring. When something surprising happens (safety from a near accident, unexpected monetary blessing) we see God’s handiwork.
Lord, help us to see your handiwork in the mundane as well as the extraordinary.