I don’t know how anyone would go through loss of a loved one apart from Christ and survive it. Hope is so crucial to our lives. There have been times where I’ve asked the ugly questions. I didn’t want to, but it’s hard not to. I asked the famous question, why are you letting this happen to me? And as soon as I opened that door, all the rest of the questions came flooding after. Where are you? If you are good, how could you allow something so bad to hurt us? What is your plan in this? Why did you allow this? Do you really hear our prayers?
How do you answer these questions? If you’re a Christian and you live in this broken world, you are either asking them yourself or being asked them by someone around you. Are their answers? I’ve spent a lot of time in my car listening to youth of my neighborhood pour their hurts out. I don’t know why it always seems to happen in the car, but it does. Usually I pull up to their house, ready to drop them off, and then it all starts to come out. When I’m driving home after those conversations, I question God a lot. I feel so confused. How can you let this happen, Lord? Do you see their pain? If you see it why aren’t you doing something about it? What am I supposed to tell them? The only things I have to say, seem so….cliche. I’ve kind of errored on the side of always telling them I just didn’t know the answer. “You just have to trust God, hold on, pray and read your Bible.” That seemed to suffice until the next event happened. Then the cycle would repeat. Car. Pour out. Hurt. “I don’t know? Pray. Hold on.” Drive Home. Question God. Move on.
I so badly wanted to have something for them, something that would encourage them. I wanted to give them an answer.
Something happens when you start to ask the questions yourself. God takes you on your own journey and you see things in a little different light. Instead of asking God questions on behalf of others, praying and then falling asleep at night; I was asking them, demanding an answer, unable to sleep until I got one.
He gave me an answer.
A beautiful, beautiful answer.
I was driving for a long period of time without Avery in the car the other day and I put on a podcast of Louie Giglio’s. It was titled, “Hope When Life Hurts Most.” I thought it would be a good one and it was. It’s where God gave me his answer. My answer was found in Hebrews chapter 6.
“We have this hope as anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
Our hope is in the cross of Christ. The Cross is an anchor for our soul. My answer…..The cross.
The cross answers all our questions….all our ugly questions.
When the bottom falls out, and we ask the ugly questions, I believe there is one question that we scream louder and deeper than any other. I think it’s the foundation for all the other questions that come out of us as well. I know it has been for me. The question I’m really asking God the loudest is “Do you love me?”
He answers that question when I look at the cross.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” 1 John 4:9-10
My circumstances aren’t telling me that God loves me. I have to stare at the cross and fix my eyes upon it and let it tell me of God’s never-ending and relentless love for me. Let the cross answer my questions.
Louie shared a second thing the cross tells us in our trouble. The cross tells us that God allows freedom, but he maintains control. At the cross men crucified Jesus. The people chose to release Barabas and crucify Jesus. God didn’t brainwash everyone, they chose it by their own free will. Yet he was always in control. He never stopped being in control. Somehow and someway he allowed freedom and he maintained control. He is still doing that today, in my daughter’s death. We live in a broken world where we have trouble, but he is an overcoming Savior. Those two things exist at the same time. One day he will put an end to all the brokenness, and it will be over. But until then he is allowing freedom and he is maintaining control. We have trouble. And we have an overcoming Savior. Trouble. Overcoming Savior.
There is a third thing Louie shared the cross tells us in our trouble. The cross tells us that God can use the worst for eternal good. The Friday that Jesus was horribly crucified was the worst day this earth has ever known. Jesus, God in flesh, brutally tortured and killed by the very people he created and loved. It can’t get any worse than that. Yet today, we call it Good Friday. Because as it was the worst day then, it is the best day now. That day, is the day my sins were paid for and my salvation was available. God used the worst for eternal good.
Because of the cross, my car conversations are forever changed. I have an answer. I can confidently look each student straight into the eyes and tell them that the cross of Jesus Christ can handle their ugly questions.
When we ask him, “why are you letting this happen to me?” He will say, “it happened to me too.”
He will tell us, “I know, I understand.” I know pain. I know death. I know hurt. I understand when others mistreat you. I understand feeling alone. I understand betrayal. I understand loss. I understand heartache. I understand suffering.
Because of the cross, he knows. He understands.
And then God spoke so straight to my heart. “I know what it feels like to lose a child.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son.” John 3:16
Yes you do Lord. And because of that, I know what it feels like to be loved.
Thank you for the cross.
“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3
“We can claim our unique journey as God’s way to mold our hearts to greater conformity to Christ. The cross, the primary symbol of our faith, invites us to see grace where there is pain; to see resurrection where there is death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads to new life.” Henri Nouwen
"Anchor"- Hillsong United
As have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to you
With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In every thing
I will trust in your
There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world you loved
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand, unshakeable