When I was in the hospital after my cancer surgery, a friend came into my room with a big smile and announced: “God is going to teach you great things through this trial!”
Of course, I didn’t say that. Instead I just smiled and hoped she would leave very soon.
If you had asked me in June of 1990 whether I was angry about the nightmare unfolding before me–stage 3 cancer at age 36 with three young daughters and a husband who already had buried his first wife--I would have insisted that I was not. After all, it’s not really proper for a Baptist minister’s wife to get angry, is it?
But as I look back on those dark days after diagnosis, I realize I experienced a bevy of emotions: shock, disbelief, denial, disappointment, frustration, sadness, worry and yes, anger.
I don’t know what deep suffering or overwhelming struggles you’ve had to face. Maybe you’re not as angry as I was; perhaps you’re only just a tiny bit ticked. Then again, maybe “fury” better describes what you’re feeling today.
I suggest you run where all those with great suffering need to run: to the only One whose shoulders are broad enough, whose arms are strong enough and whose love is deep enough.
“It’s all right—questions, pain, and stabbing anger can be poured out
to the Infinite One and He will not be damaged…
For we beat on His chest from within the circle of His arms.”
Anne Cetas, Our Daily Bread.
Can you visualize that for yourself? You crying out to God, beating your clenched fists upon His chest and Him holding you in His loving arms.
I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Psalm 69:3
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Psalm 22:1-2
And then after you’ve hurled your questions heavenward, don’t forget to go to God’s Word to find His response. A good place to start might be the promise He gave to Jeremiah, who was filled with so much grief he has been called “the weeping prophet:”
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt…”
Jeremiah 31:3, 4
I believe our heavenly Father is the best place to turn with our suffering. He’ll either give us the answers we seek, or the peace we need to live with the questions.
(Be sure to open this blog in your browser to hear the music video below “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day.)