Why God? Why!

As the death toll from Covid 19 soars, the old question that always surfaces in hard times makes a comeback: “Why does God allow something like this pandemic? Is God the author of hurt and pain?”

Let me say two things. First, the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. (John 10:10) The thief (the devil) thrives on our hurt and pain. He’s licking his chops. God hurts at times like this. He loves us and He suffers as He sees His children and others suffer.

But, the second thing that touches me is this: “Do we have any right to accuse God? Has the world been living in a way which pleases Him? If He has removed His protecting hand for a moment is it because He hates us or because so many have said, ‘Leave me alone. I want nothing to do with you or your way of living, God.’”

And God gives men what they want, but they never realized how terrible this world would be if God completely removed His hand of protection and blessing. As the Lord bore our sins, pains and suffering on the cross, we Christians sometimes share with the pain that comes on this world.

Make no mistake about it. God isn’t hiding, neither is He insensitive.

No Explanation

Several years ago the son of some of our friends in Belgium committed suicide. I’ll admit I had a hard time digesting this. These people had sacrificed as missionaries in a tough country then came back to a hard spiritual corner of Belgium and faithfully served the Lord as pastors.

Their son had used drugs and began to have problems with serious depression. One day his dad and his brother found him hanging from a tree in the woods.

I couldn’t imagine anything that would hurt worse than that. And I had some real, “why?” questions. I’m not sure we will ever have all the answers this side of eternity. Job and his buddies spent more than forty chapters trying to figure out why all those calamities fell on him.

At the end God never told him why. He gave Job a new revelation of Himself and when Job saw that, he didn’t have to know why. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5, 6 NIV)

After lots of thinking (and hurting) I’ve come to at least five conclusions. In times of pain these seem counter-intuitive but I’m convinced they are true:

God is good.

God is faithful.

God will do what is right.

God is working all things for our good.

God loves us with an everlasting love.

I heard a country song one time that made me smile. A fellow had been in love with a girl when they were both very young. He prayed that she would be his wife but it didn’t happen. Twenty years later, by chance he met her one evening at a hometown football game. And he sang …

“I thank God for unanswered prayer.”*

In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done,” before we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

To pray with faith, you first have to honestly say, “Your will be done in me and in this situation, just like your will is done in heaven. Even if it’s not what I think I want.”


Let me pray for us. “Father, you’ve got this. We feel like we do just before we start a roller coast ride, but You’ve got us. Come. Teach us what You want us to know in this. Thanks for stopping our mad rush left and right. You slow us down to hear your voice. Give us the ability to hear. Reveal Yourself to us in a way we’ve never seen You before. Please. Give us a heart to say, ‘Yes,’ and then obey.

“Change us so that when all this is past we’ll be different. We’ll know you better. Our hearts will be delivered from addiction to the adrenalin rushes of this world and plugged into the your current from heaven.

“Send revival Lord. Come fill this longing in our hearts.”

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“My friend Gary Thomas frequently challenges me to grow spiritually through his insights that probe beneath the surface of my faith. He writes, “I learned that faith isn’t tested by how often God answers my prayers with a yes but by my willingness to continue serving him and thanking him, even when I don’t have a clue as to what he is doing…”

“I found peace in knowing that while I cannot control how long I live, I can control how I live. One of my mottoes is “Control the controllables and leave the uncontrollables to God.” I don’t get to determine the length of my days, but I can determine the quality of the days given to me. I wanted “gold”—character—to be produced from my fiery suffering.” From Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren.

Image by sumanley pixabay.com/fr/

Songwriters: Garth Brooks / Larry B. Bastian / Patrick Alger/Unanswered Prayers lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

What Did I Do To Deserve This?

If I were a weapons inventor, I would create the ultimate weapon. Here’s how it would work.

The enemy launches a huge missile. Someone shouts, “Incoming!” and everyone jumps into a hole or looks for something to hide behind.

Not to worry, though. My trusty invention fires a cloud of happy dust into the air and when the missile flies though, its payload changes from explosives into good stuff. Red, green, blue and yellow flowers float towards the earth, along with oatmeal cookies.

The only thing is, I haven’t figured out how to do it. I’ll keep you updated.

God’s Weapon

God can do it, though. Missiles may still hurt when they explode (an oatmeal cookie would hurt if it fell on your noggin), but instead of destroying us they work for our good if we face them with faith in the Lord.

There were a couple of things that really troubled me when I was a kid, then a teenager. If I could have changed them I would have done it in the blink of an eye. It stills hurts a bit when I think of it, all these years afterwards.

But, in a way these circumstances help to make me. Continue reading

Niagara Falls—the End or the Beginning of Your Life?

Back in the dawn of time, when television images were still black and white, a strange comedy team tickled people’s funny bone. The called themselves the “Three Stooges.” But that was an exaggeration. They weren’t even that smart.

If you looked up “stupid” in the dictionary, Moe, Larry and Curly Joe might have their picture next to the definition. Moe had a Beatle’s haircut long before the Beatles; Larry opted for the Einstein “explosion in a mattress factory” coiffure and Curly Joe had no curls at all. He sported a crew cut.

One skit that sticks in my memory was about, “Niagara Falls.” In the story, Moe’s wife had left him for Larry. Moe followed him wanting revenge and caught up with him in Niagra Falls whereupon he beat him up. Supposedly years later he was telling the story to Curly Joe, the dumbest of the three (and the dumbest of those three is way down the food chain).

Curly Joe made the mistake of saying, “Niagra Falls” and Moe went into a kind of violent trance. He said, “Niiii-agra Falls. Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch. Then I caught him!” Everytime he heard “Niagra Falls,” he beat someone up.

Poor Curly kept forgetting and he said it several times. Each time he paid the price. Funny, huh?

Where Is Your Niagara Falls?

I think we’ve all had our “Niagara Falls” experiences. Some pastors hear the name of certain towns where they had been pastors and they want to say, “Niagra Falls!” and beat on someone. Some of you have had bosses like that.

All of us have had experiences like that. We hear the name of a place or a person and it feels like a gut-punch. Memories and emotions still lurk right under the surface, and it doesn’t take much to make them swim to the surface like a five-pound bass leaping out of the water after a dragonfly. Continue reading

How To Find Your Song After  a Vacuum Cleaner Slurps You

Some days your best bet is to snuggle back under the covers, and never put your delicate little foot on the floor. It’s safer there.

Consider the poignant story of Chippie the parakeet as a warning for people who risk getting out of bed.

Chippie’s owner got the brilliant idea to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She took off the attachment at the end of the hose and attacked the nastiness in the bottom of the cage.

Just then the phone rang and as the preoccupied lady turned to answer it, Chippie fell into the line of fire of the sucking air current.


The horrified bird owner stopped the vacuum cleaner and to her relief discovered Chippy, like a feathered Jonah, shaken but alive in the interior of the machine. The poor creature was covered with dirt so his mistress grabbed him and plunged him under the faucet of the sink into a stream of cold water.

Then when she realized how cold the poor bird was, she set upon him with her hair dryer! Poor old Chippie.

Someone asked her a few days later, how her parakeet fared after his traumatic adventure. “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore,” she reported. He just sits and stares.” (Story told by Max Lucado in his book, “In the Eye of the Storm).

I understand. Been there, done that.

Have You Ever Been Sucked Into A Vacuum Cleaner?

Has life ever sucked you into its vacuum hose? Then doused you with cold water and blasted you with its heat waves? Most of us can answer with an emphatic, “Yes!” because in one degree or another we all experience the hard slam of life’s skillet in our face at times. Continue reading

Lessons Learned From Places I Didn’t Want To Be

14944424600_98d90c88db_kAfter years of diligent research, I’ve finally discovered the two hardest things in the world. Are you ready for it?

1. Getting out of a warm bed when it’s cold outside.

2. Getting out of a warm tub of water after a long tiring day. (“Just let me sleep here.”)

 I’d like to continue my research but I think I will need a government grant to finance my activities. Think there is any hope of that?

You know, some places you just want to be, and when you get there you want to stay there. The problem with those places is inertia. I’m usually going nowhere when I’m where I want to be. (That’s profound isn’t it? )

I absorb some of life’s most powerful lessons, though, from places I don’t want to be.

I learn a lot about myself there. Can I be transparent with you? My reactions don’t always remind me of the Lord Jesus’ way of doing things. I think an adult learns to react correctly, even when he’s not happy, but still …  it burns. The battle rages inside if not outside.  Continue reading