There are many things I don’t get about God and how he works in this world. There are questions that will not leave. There are things I don’t understand, especially our language that claims his work over many random things in our lives; so God got me my 2:1, God found me a parking place, God found me a place to live. The question is, if God did do these things, why? And why did my friend get a 3rd? Why do many people live homeless? Why didn’t he solve the suffering in the world? Why didn’t he make my mate better? There seems to be a lot of inconsistency when we talk about God’s work in this world. And I’m sure many could come up with a list of responses to these questions, but sometimes we are still left with more questions than answers.
I’ve been reading Philip Yancey’s new book on prayer, a book that asks all these questions and more, a book that makes me cry with relief as I realise that these loud, unanswerable questions are not the end of faith. But, in some way, the cries and struggles and wrestling of true faith. Having a relationship with the Maker of the Universe will lead us to these places. It’s a book that is reminding me to carry on wrestling with God in these queries, doubts, incomprehension and despair.
The questions that don’t go away aren’t the sign of the need to walk away from this relationship but they call me to cry out more, to batter on heavens door, to kick and punch and shout, to ask with boldness, to desperately ask for more mercy and to address all of these cries to the one I don’t understand. In that I hope to find out more of His character, so I can trust that he knows what he is doing. Because I don’t know how to live without God. But sometimes it seems to hard to live with him.
Really I love this book because it says all the questions out loud without quickly jumping to the ‘right’ answers. It lets you sit with the questions and realise that their presence doesn’t make faith run away. God is big enough for the questions. And in articulating them I realise I’m not asking them in a vacuum but in the context of a relationship. I cry out, ‘I don’t understand’, but I cry out in the arms of the one who does. Sometimes that’s enough.
Of course, sometimes that’s not enough, sometimes that seems like a neat solution to make me feel better. And in those times the rain really does seem to be coming down too hard. In those times I stand, not alone with my weak emptiness but with the many others who are traveling this journey. We stand together in the rain, the strong, the weak, the hopeful, the despairing. We face the rain together and in that find the stronger hope in the darkness.