Once upon a time, wrestling with God about the pain and confusion going on in my world and those around me, I wrote this song called  “No Easy Answers”. Recently there’s been a renewed interest in the song and I’ve been in a lot conversations with folks about these thoughts. I’d like to share some reflections.

When God makes no sense.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for believers in God, followers of Jesus and lovers of His ways, is  – how do we honestly reconcile the painful realities of life that lead so easily to disappointment, distance and even anger towards God?

Sometimes there’s a silver lining and a redemptive purpose in suffering, like the story of Joseph. “What was meant for evil, God used for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

Sometimes self sacrifice results in a greater good, like those who serve in the military or first responders.

Sometimes people just do evil wicked acts that steal, kill and destroy – like serial killers and terrorists.

But …

How can you explain the unexplainable?

How can you make sense of the senseless?

There Are No Easy Answers

My most honest theological answer is – it can’t be known. Not in this dimension. Not in this life.

I don’t know. 

There are no easy answers.

There is an evil conspiracy – the world, the flesh and the devil – set out with hellish intention to discourage all of us to the point of abandoning God.

The Problem of Pain

Have you not felt at times overwhelmed from the burdens and weariness of life? The attacks of the enemy – and at times, our own self-sabotage – leave us feeling wounded, abandoned, grief-stricken, betrayed, overwhelmed with suffering.

Our lives are permeated with pain, and one can only endure so much.

The writers of the Psalms express the emotions and questions common to our humanity.

“Where was God when I needed Him? Why did He let this happen? Has God abandoned me? Has He forsaken us? None of this makes sense.”

This is an age old question.

Is God Really Good?

How can a God who is supposed to be good and loving, and has promised his adherents with many blessings, allow such evil wickedness and tragedy to not only exist, but to seemingly have the upper hand in our world?

Theologians, philosophers and academics have their educated opinions. CS Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain” exploring many nuanced answers to this question. So did James Dobson in his book, “When God Doesn’t Make Sense”.

But – when there are “no easy answers”, perhaps the simple faith of a child is all we really need. It is child-like faith that says, “no matter what, I will trust the Lord.”

“I believe what my eyes can not see.

That God is good all the time.

All the time God is good.”

This is the honesty and the wisdom of the Psalm writers who were very raw and real, yet always resolved their pain back to God.

When we dialogue with God about our doubt and despair, yet stand in faith and trust Him anyway – this is act an of worship.

Job said it well, “Though He slay me, I will trust Him” (Job 13;15)

It’s Personal, Not Theoretical

As I’m writing this, I have a good friend going through a terribly difficult season. In a scene that will grow more and more common for baby boomers today, his mother is in the last stages of her life. It’s a hospice situation. She may pass in a few days, or a few months or longer  – nobody knows. The uncertainty is stressful and distressing. The disease that racks her body is painful to see. On top of that, dementia has left her to be a person that my friend no longer recognizes, except in very brief glimpses.

Another dear friend has been diagnosed with a terrible genetic disease. This disease killed his father and has afflicted other family members. Looming over his head is the possibility that he too will suffer their same terrible fate.

How can a good God allow this to happen?

I don’t know. There are no easy answers. 

The World Is A Dangerous Place To Live

Horrific and demonically evil terrorist attacks are killing scores of innocent people in the most horrifying and brutal of ways. These are now daily occurrences all over the world.

The violent persecution, torture and killing of Christians around the world is at an all-time high. It is not safe to be a Christian in many parts of the world.

How does a God who is in control, who is nothing but pure love, allow this to happen?

I don’t know. There are no easy answers. 

Making Sense of The Senseless

Pastors and theologians have offered many answers to these questions.

We cannot possibly see the big perspective as omniscient Almighty God does, and his wisdom is far beyond our wisdom.

In many instances we may not see the benefit that’s going on behind the scenes. As mentioned earlier, consider Joseph’s story of being wronged and imprisoned unjustly. Ultimately God had a purpose and a plan in mind that developed character and perseverance in Joseph, and equipped him to be a great blessing to the nation of Israel.

You Can’t Stop Freewill – or Mother Nature

We cannot blame God for the evil actions of other human beings. Since the garden of Eden, all humans have a free will to do whatever really they choose to do, whether it is harmful or helpful.

Similarly, we really can not blame God for natural disasters, violent weather or freak accidents.

It is a mystery to suffer tragedy.

There are no easy answers. 

Did Hitler Win?

Another reality that deeply grieves me. So I have on many occasions seen abandoned Jewish synagogues throughout Eastern Europe. They’re empty. Whether it’s in Lviv Ukraine, Novi Sad Serbia, Baja Hungary or Timisoara, Romania, the synagogue is no longer a place of worship for Jews. The Jews are gone. It seems Hitler won. How do you reconcile that?

How can you forgive the unforgivable? 

How can you love the unloveable ?

I don’t know. I don’t know.

There are no easy answers.

The Meaning of It All

The point of all of this is to encourage you, my friend reading this, that you are not alone in your questions. The pain can just plain hurt like heck. No denying it.

“Life is hard – then you die.” – Quote

But at the bottom of the bottom, as long as there is life in your body, there is a choice to be made.

Hope or despair. 

To grieve, weep, mourn and wail is natural and healthy. Just don’t stay there longer than you should.

Choose to believe, with the faith of a child.

I believe what my eyes can not see.

That God is good all the time.

All the time God is good.

Yes You are good all the time. 

All the time, You are good . 

Given the choice between faith and hopelessness.

Love and bitterness.

Hope and Despair.

I believe what my eyes can not see.

There are no easy answers.

The Lord be with you today!

~ Rob Still

Below is the video for “No Easy Answers”. You can also download it from iTunes.

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