Over the past month, I have witnessed the sickness and death of so many good people I know. I stood before coffins with a myriad of questions swirling around my mind. I comforted those left behind with my tears or with my hug, but never with my words because I had none to give.As a preacher, I am expected to know what to say during times like those. A comforting word, perhaps, that would make things easier to bear. I dramatic, philosophical, and theological insight maybe that would somehow lessen the pain.
But no, to my shame, I am often tongue-tied in moments like those.
I simply do not know what to say. There are moments when death requires no explanation but simply an exhortation to keep believing.
Indeed, sometimes, God does things that are devoid of any rational explanation. Sometimes, he does things with us that often may not make sense…at least from a purely human perspective.
WHY did you get sick?
WHY did the marriage of your parents fail?
WHY did your spouse have to leave?
WHY do the bad prosper?
WHY do the good die young?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
We have questions in life that are often left unanswered. We stare at a blank wall. We incline our ear to silence. We beckon to a hallowed space.
No reasons. No logic. No meaning.
It is in these moments when we question the good in our God.
Is He really, in the first place?
I’m sure you have your own litany of queries that are unrequited. You sigh and shake your head. You wonder, really, if somewhere out there, a big, all-good, and all-knowing being truly exists as they say.
Let me assure you today, my friend — there is.
As sure as the sun rose this morning and as certain as its setting late this afternoon, there is a good God who loves you beyond your imagination. You just need to keep believing.
Today, Holy Thursday, take inspiration from the experience of a bunch of men who were likewise baffled by what their master intended to do. It wasn’t customary for the master to be doing what Jesus was about to do. It didn’t make sense for the master to be washing the feet of his disciples. Peter protested. Jesus insisted.
“Jesus said, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’…” (John 13:17)
For those among us who are confused, I believe Jesus hurls those same words at us.
In a similar way, God exhorts us today that someday, somehow, explanations will come. Things will make sense.
Questions will be answered.
Perhaps not completely in this lifetime. But surely in the next.
So grieve, yes. Struggle, by all means. Shed tears, if necessary.
But hold on. Keep believing. Trust.
Remember, eventually Peter understood why Jesus did what he did. Peter later on found out that his feet were washed that day by the Carpenter from Nazareth not only because Jesus was after hygiene.
Years later, hanging on an upside down cross in the outskirts of Rome, Peter smiled.
For then, He already knew WHY.