I tend to ask lots of questions.  And, yes, if you know me, you know that I have lots of answers as well.  In general, I talk plenty.  A lot.

But you also know that I am thoughtful.  I'm always trying to figure things out.  And, as a Christ follower, I wish that I could understand many things much better than I do.  I'd love to be able to live better, live different, more sin free, more pain free for me & others.

If I could only understand, then I could fix it.

Or at least try my best.

If I could only understand it, then I could accept it.

Well, maybe accept it better.

I look at the world around me.  Pain.  Injustice.  Problems. So much I wish I could change.

And more than just the nameless, faceless masses I look at the lives of those I love.  I see their distress.  I hear their pain. I feel their struggle.  I grieve their questions.

How.  How did this happen?  We'd like to know.  In order to understand.  To keep from making the same mistake again.  If that is possible.  Or simply to be satisfied with an answer.  Even if it still hurts.  At least we know how it happened.  We can understand.  Or we can assign blame.  The knowledge of how gives a small sense of control.

Why.  Why did this happen?  We always want to know.  It helps to have an explanation.  But sometimes there is not  one.  Or the one we get just seems so wrong.  Unjust.  Difficult.  Painful.  There is nothing wrong with the question why.  But - when faced with something that seems unanswerable or terribly difficult - it is not always the most productive question.

What.  For a Christ follower in the midst of difficulty the best question may be what.  Trusting God's sovereignty - that He either causes or allows all things that touch my life - I can ask how & why, but what may be the best question to move ahead. Specifically: What can I learn from this circumstance?  

It's a humble posture.  A learning posture.  A trusting posture.  A mind that is settled on the sovereignty of God. A heart that rests in the love of God.  A spirit that says something like this:

God, I believe you control all things.  Anything affecting my life you have either caused or allowed into my life.  Everything affecting my life you can use for your glory & my growth.  So, God, while I'm here, in the midst of this difficult circumstance, what would you have me learn?

Questions are many.  Answers may be few.  God is One.  Seek Him.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

Who.  That's one more question.  And this who - the Ultimate Who - can provide an answer to every question.  If from there.  Wherever your there is.  Whatever circumstance.  Whatever trouble.  Seek Him.

Don't Cry

Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman's only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don't cry." Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, "Young man, I tell you: Get up." The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother. They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful—and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, "God is back, looking to the needs of his people!" The news of Jesus spread all through the country.Luke 7:11-17, The Message
Don't cry.
You are already a widow.
You only son has just died.
You'll have no means of support in our society.
Yet, I tell you, Don't cry.
"Don't weep. Don't sob. Don't wail aloud," are more accurate translations & more accurate for this situation. Have you been there? Let your memory of the past or your imagination of the future take you there with that widow. Have you ever been so heartbroken? Too many questions? Few answers? Life smoldering about you? Stability banished? Uncertainty stalking? Weeping like breathing? Pain unbearable?Yet, Jesus. Yes, Jesus was there in Nain. God in flesh. And "his heart broke." Splanchnizomai (splanhk-nid-ZOH-my) in Greek from the root of "spleen" or "guts." Translated as, "compassion, heartbroken, take pity," or the like, it is used in the entire New Testament only 12 times. Other than in Luke 10:33 of the Good Samaritan, a parable of the character & actions of Christ followers, all 11 other mentions are of Jesus himself. Jesus was stirred up. He alone was heartbroken this way. Sick to his stomach. Moved with compassion. By suffering. By pain. Yes, Jesus. God in flesh.
My daughter skins her knee while playing. In her pain, she'll weep & wail loudly. My built in Daddy response is, "don't cry." I can hold her. I can clean & bandage her cut. I can comfort her. But my abilities stop there.
When Jesus says, "don't cry," he alone has the ability - the power - to change the very situation. He can heal. He can restore sight. He can raise. And, for the Widow of Nain's son, he did. As God willed, Jesus did. Jesus raised the dead man.
This doesn't mean God will remove all my pain, or heal me, or make everything in my life right whenever I ask. Jesus didn't heal everyone or raise all the dead he happened upon either. Those are questions of God's providence that I can't understand. He is God. I am not. Based on this Scripture I do understand:
God knows my pain.
He, the God of the entire universe, is moved with compassion for me.
God. Heartbroken over me.