Today is September 11th - a day that will forever be associated with sorrow and horror. On this day nine years ago, a single inquiry lingered on the lips of every American, "Why?" Perhaps more than at any point in our nation's history the question of why bad things happen to good people, seered our hearts and minds.
This morning I am reading 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1. This book opens with the theme of hope and comfort. When life is at its' most trying, God sometimes gives us a peek into the answers to our questions. This passage is one of those glances into the goodness of God.
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?
- So I Will Learn to Rely on God (Verse 9) - Paul reports that he and his companions had recently endured circumstances that were "far beyond their ability to endure" (Verse 8). Graciously, he also tells his readers, why God allowed this to happen. It happened so that they would learn to rely on God instead of themselves (Verse 9). As I look back on my life, there have been hundreds of days that I made harder because I thought I could tackle something myself, instead of with God's help. It wasn't until what I encountered was truly beyond me, that I threw myself on God. I'm so glad I did.
- So That I'll Have a Storehouse of Comfort to Give Others (Verse 4) - Paul refers to God as "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort". Compassion and comfort originate in God. If I have never received God's tender care during my own difficulties, I have nothing to give away to others. As I learn to rely on God and allow Him to soothe my anxious heart, my heart literally begins to overflow with comfort that spills around onto other people (Verse 5).
God can fill the awkward pauses in my life when I "just didn't know what to say" with an abundance of tender love and care. On September 11, 2001 I was airborn on a flight that was reported on CNN as unaccounted for and possibly taken over by terrorists. I don't know why God chose to spare me and allowed so many other precious people to perish that day. I do know that it my aim to make every day that remains for me one which counted. One of the best ways I can do that is to love others in the midst of their pain.
Jesus, today help me see people who are hurting, especially those hiding behind painted on smiles. Allow my heart to wander behind the mask, to the place that cries for answers to their questions. Let me offer them the authenticity of Your comfort which is true, real and deep.