PAIN IS EVERYWHERE.. and our God alone is the answer.
There is pain in our bodies, minds, and even our souls. Pain is found inside our own families, with our friends, and if you turn on the news it is filled with angry, hurting, and often hateful people wanting relief and/or revenge.
For me in 2021 physical pain has become my companion. About three weeks ago I had surgery to relieve nerve pain in my lower back. This surgery went well, BUT just as I was feeling better about my back I went to the ER suffering with very bad headaches. The ER doctor did a CT scan suggesting I may need surgery to repair another disc issue this time in my neck. I will know more over the next few days as an MRI is scheduled.
So this recent bout with pain has inspired the following 'deep thoughts' regarding pain...
Of course PAIN IS a relative experience prone to hyperbole. For example right now I have headache that is killing me and my head feels like it will explode. but.. truth be told I am sure I will live and my wife will not likely be cleaning up 'brain guts' this evening from any explosion.
* note * don't try this at home ->
But seriously, it is true many of the important lessons I have learned are the product of pain. It may be dealing with physical pain, or often lessons learned on the other side of (painful) blunders, stumbles, and/or bad choices. Or even deeper yet are the lessons I found in the death of a friend or family member.
I also believe this problem of PAIN & SUFFERING is the source for that age old question. If there is a God why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?
This is a valid question. Here is where I see a 'Dangerous Beauty' where God the Creator allows his creation (you & me) the opportunity to persevere and succeed despite this world's pain and constant state of brokenness.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
This Dangerous Beauty is found as we are allowed to choose right over wrong in big & small ways, and even good instead of evil.
There is DANGER in choosing poorly, and if we do not persevere.. and danger when we choose well in the face of a world that chooses poorly, BUT...
There is BEAUTY in choosing well, supporting others, and when we persevere while trusting God when it would be easier to quit when bad things happen to good people.
To summarize.. Faith, Family, and Friends (in that order) are how God comforts and heals this world of hurt. So I seek God today as my compass and my only worship, and I thank Him for the blessing of faith, family and friends where we can love and support each other as God intends.. even in times of pain.
May God bless and provide for each of you this day with love and grace when you are hurting physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. While pain can be discouraging may we as believers (His Church) be God's comfort and healing for others in this broken/hurting world while always leaning on His Spirit.
Jeff (ibuprofen & Spirit infused) Larson
In the year 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic kidnapped the world holding EVERYONE hostage with no tangible ransom demands except to social distance, wear a mask (or three), and obey all other 'Big Brother' government lockdowns in true George Orwell 1984 fashion.
I really do take COVID-19 serious, but there are so many contradictory 'expert' opinions funneled through a media monster hopped up on Red Bull with an agenda. The popular statement 'I believe science' begs the question..
'Ok, but which science?' But that is a ramble for another day.
Now in 2021 we still have COVID-19, plus riots disguised as peaceful protests, and the cries of of all things racist have become the 2021 version of the CRT boy who cries wolf (in this case racism).
Trending in 2021 are Socialist, Marxist, BLM, Antifa, SJW, CRT, and LGBTQ agendas, all the while the deconstructing of Christianity is finding it's way deep into the traditional Christian church. This all leaves a normally sane guy like me to ask "Why God.. "WHY?"
Our society is like a roller coaster going too fast, with faulty safety harnesses careening along tracks last serviced in 1984. This will not end well. We are all destined to leave the tracks in front of the camera ready news shows of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and FOX salivating in anticipation watching society crash into a twisted heap of metal and cotton candy (from one kid riding in the front car).
Who was to blame? Was it society, the church.. maybe Donald Trump? Why God why?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Why do bad men prosper?
Why is there so much pain & suffering?
Would a good God (if he even exists) allow and/or cause this rollercoaster train wreck?
So we ask "Why God.. Why?"
AND THEN... the Lord answered me from the whirlwind ..
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?.. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. .. What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone.. “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries.. But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced! (God then rolled His eyes at me from the whirlwind) “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning? ..
Oh, God went on to say a lot more to me... but you get the point.
WHO AM I.. to tell the creator of all things what is fair and unfair, and more importantly who is to blame?
Ok, I tried to pull a fast one on all of you but God's response was actually from the book of Job chapter 38 where God answers Job (not Jeff) in a whirlwind.
For the first 37 chapters Job who was a righteous and wealthy man (Job 1) who then death of loved ones, his wealth stolen, and even his physical health was taken from him to the point that his body was covered from head to toe with sores.
Then starting in chapter 38, God speaks to Job from the whirlwind where God shares perspective to Job or anyone (even a Jeff) about questioning God.
As the book of Job ends, Job is restored with wealth, health and family beyond all that he had lost. Read the whole book of Job to better understand our place when life becomes a world of hurt.
Ok, I accept God the creator of this world can do whatever he pleases. But still Why God, why? Still why do you allow bad people to thrive, and the good to be mistreated? Why do the innocent suffer?
The Answer.. Because man from the very beginning when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden continues to mess up aka sin.
In fact just 6 chapters into the book of Genesis we read.. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5
and so God destroyed the Earth with a flood.
But most of us may semi-rightly say.. "I may not be perfect, but my heart is not wicked, and my every intention is not on evil continually." Hey, I am not HITLER.
but King Solomon writes.. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Eccelsiastes 7:20
And.. Paul writes.. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15
So.. while I may not be evil, this world filled with a SINS great and small in fact man's every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... and VOID OF GOD.
AND.. Mankind has been blessed by God with FREE WILL lest we be His slaves or robots void of a relationship with God. There is happiness when our free will chooses God, but through history man has abused this free will and corrupted the good God intends for each of us. The result is a world of hatred, stress, envy, illness, and death. Our fallen world of pain & suffering is our own fault, and not God's.
But on this roller coaster of life sailing off the tracks, I thank God for his perfect grace and forgiveness for this soul. So now I truly wonder Why God, why.. do you still love me?
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love, Here's my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above. -- excerpt from the great hymn Come thou Fount of Every Blessing.
My prayer today is for God's people to live in obedience and praise to our God. May we fear and honor Him with our words, and actions as an outpouring of our love for Him. May this love and service extend out to a world that needs hope.
Jeff (no more why questions for today) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson