Summary: We can know the peace of God in the midst of difficult circumstances if we will cling to the King.
"It Is Well With My Soul"
I have been a minister of the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for almost fifteen years now. In those fifteen years I have come to understand that some people look upon ministers to supply answers to unanswerable questions, to bring comfort when pain's sting is excruciately agonizing, and to have faith when uncertainty seems our only option. I wish that I could stand before you as such a man. A man who had all of the answers; a man who possessed comforting solace that soothed pain's sting; a man of faith who is never uncertain. I am not that man.
The older I get and the longer I am in ministry there are more and more situations that come my way that I simply do not understand. There are fewer and fewer answers that I have to offer. There are more and more times that I cry out to the Father, "I believe, Lord help my unbelief."
I do not understand how a young mother and her four children can be brutally murdered when they are in the prime of their lives. Alonzo, I will never understand why your sister Renee was shot and killed with her precious children looking on. Arlo, I can't explain how Mahala can go to Branson one week and two weeks later find herself clinging to life and waiting for the Lord to take her home. Angela, I can't offer an answer as to why the Lord doesn't lift you up out of your wheelchair and let you dance for joy. Phil and Mary, I do not know why James' life lasted only sixteen months. All of you who have had to go through the agony of losing a child, I wish I could supply the answer, but I have to admit that I do not know why. I will never understand why my friend Mike committed suicide and left behind a beautiful wife and three of the most precious little ones that I have ever known. Nate, I can't tell you why the little girl in your class, Cybil, came down with cancer and died.
I have to be honest with you and tell you that my questions started long before I came to Britton Christian Church. When I was in Seminary, the man who led me to the Lord, a healthy and strong college athlete married to a fit college athlete, had a beautiful little boy named Matthew who was born with Down's Syndrome. Mom and dad were shocked, but they adjusted and that little boy changed their life and blessed them immensely. Then one night I received a phone call from my friend John who told me that Matthew had passed away. I will never understand.
While I was in Plano there was a man who was so loved by the kids. Because of the many young people in Plano who were taking their own lives he spoke to the kids one Sunday during morning worship. He told them that there is nothing that justifies taking your own life...then he took his. My first responsibility as the Youth Minister at First Christian Church in Plano was to meet with those broken-hearted and confused high school kids who had believed every word he had said.
I will never understand how dozens of kids in Plano could find things so bad in their young lives that they felt they had no option but to take their own life. I do not understand.
There is so much that I do not understand. I have tried to figure things out, but I've come up empty. I've tried to reason it all away, but I can't find a reason. I've tried to dismiss it all as not really real, but the reality of it all continues to slap me in the face. I do not understand.
I have come to this conclusion: If I must understand all of the unexplainable tragedies that take place around me in order that I might continue on as a minister of the Good News of Jesus Christ then I must cease with what I am doing because I simply do not understand. I will not stop! I will not waver from the privilege God has given me to proclaim His faithfulness, His lovingkindness, and His matchless grace! I do not understand much, but this one thing I do know...Jesus loves me and you and every person in this place more than we will ever be able to comprehend or fathom. That one simple statement gives me confidence to continue on.
I do not understand why things take place, but I know that our Savior's love for us will always bring about expressions of His love. Being so assured of His deep love for me and for you leads to my having trust that what I can't understand I can trust because of His love for us.