Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Escape the Prison of the "Why"

When we are faced with unspeakable evil and unexplainable horror it is inevitable for us to ponder the ever-undecipherable “why.” In the midst of crushing devastation or unsurmountable loss it is difficult not to question the reasons for “it” to have happened the way it did. We are dumbfounded by the tragic and unexpected end of those who were supposed to be at the beginning of their road. We stand, jaws hanging wide open at the sight of the visible frailty of those we thought solid. We become paralyzed, face on the ground, when the rock we never saw coming, abruptly hits us in the head, knocking us out…leaving us almost dead.

We just simply cannot comprehend it…and in our lack of understanding, our hearts fill up with frustration and our souls swell up with bitterness.

We want answers. We want to make sense of it all. We want to know why. We want to feel the safety of a logical explanation. We want to rationalize it to perhaps get a sense of control which will indicate that next time there will be something we can do about it…something we can do to stop it from happening again…

But I’m afraid it just doesn’t work that way.

What’s the point then? In the middle of such helplessness, is there anything we can actually do? Or do we just curl up and wait for our days to end in a constant state of panic and despair?

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15: 54-56

That IS the point! The point is that we are the “perishable.” We are the “mortal.” We are the inhabitants of this fallen world who walk in the darkness that the enemy uses to try to fool us into his path. But, Praise be to God for He has turned on the Light! We don’t have to dwell in the darkness that the world tries to impose on us. We don’t have to be overcome by the pain of the struggle. We don’t have to get lost in the riddle of the unsearchable “why” because:

…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15: 57

Believe it or not, we do have victory. Jesus has overcome this world. Jesus will redeem the shootings, the earthquakes, the hurricanes, the financial collapse, the corruption of government, the destruction of society. Jesus has already done it all from His divine perspective. The cancers, the loneliness, the abandoning, the unfairness of life…He has taken care of it all. The pain and the tears are all wiped away, if not from our vantage point it is true from the eternal perspective of the Almighty’s throne.

But all these things are not only happening from the other side of heaven’s door. There is actual work for us to be done in the here and now. Even from this shore, there are things we ought to accomplish too, listen to Jesus’ own words saying:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 37-40

The key is in the way we love Him and others. Love moves us. Loves directs our actions. Love is our sign. Therefore, out of this love-inspired lifestyle, a lifestyle that is dedicated to knowing Him, His Kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6: 33) flows an existence that is driven by divine purpose…a purpose that involves the using of our gifts, our experiences, our lives for the benefit of His beloved…a life that is lived outwardly in the service of His Kingdom…a life in which we can stand firm as we stand on the Solid Rock that does not move or shake.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 
1 Corinthians 15: 58

This is the life that is rooted in His Word. This is the life that avoids the “why did this happen?” and embraces the “how can I help?” This is the kind of life that doesn’t focus on understanding, controlling or manipulating; but the life that listens for His guidance and focuses on seeking His face. This is the life that knows that death has lost its sting and rejoices in Christ’s victory!

This is the kind of life I want to live. This is the kind of life I pray we all seek.

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