Archive for December, 2011

A Father to Cry With

Posted: December 29, 2011 by clairer in God's Goodness, Trusting God

It is not uncommon for people to tell me when I’m struggling with difficulties or trials to “trust God” because He will work it all out for my good even if I can’t see it yet. It’s a good reminder and I know it’s true because the Bible guarantees that God “works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” However, sometimes I want — I need — something more than just that reassurance of future hope. I know that I have a sovereign God, but sometimes I need to be reminded that He is also my loving Father.

I find it very easy to imagine God as….not unsympathetic, but almost unfeeling toward the pain that I experience. I know that God loves me, but I can easily picture Him as more distant — seeing my pain, but (although He cares) not particularly hurting with me because of His omniscient confidence that all will end well.

But….is this how a true, good father would behave toward his hurting child? Even if the father knew that everything would be okay — for example, if a father knew his child’s broken leg would set and heal properly — would he be distant and content with just that knowledge? Or, is it more likely that he will still ache with and for his child and the pain his child must endure before the healing? Obviously, a good father would do the latter. In the same way, I believe God also aches for his children when they are hurting, since He cares even more for His children than any earthly father could (Matthew 7:11).

John 11:35 has often been reduced to a bit of trivia in Christian circles. “What is the shortest verse in the Bible?” Answer: “Jesus wept.” But I think we often miss the context and significance of that verse. That verse is found in the chapter where Lazarus dies and Jesus returns to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew that everything would “work out.” He even told Martha, Lazarus’ sister, that “Your brother will rise again.” However, when Mary, Lazarus’ other sister, came to see Jesus and Jesus saw her weeping, the Bible says that “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and then…”Jesus wept.”

Jesus mourned alongside Mary and the other mourners. His omniscience did not keep Him from keenly feeling and experiencing the pain of His little children. In the same way, God is not distant or unfeeling toward any of His children in pain now. Instead, as a loving Father, He is “near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in Spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)