"...the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were."
Romans 4:17 (NIV)
I think one of the reasons I wandered into a no man's land in my relationship with Jesus Christ between the end of high school until I was thirty was because I could not reconcile some of the painful experiences that God had allowed me to go through. Because I could not satisfactorily understand what had happened to me, I assumed that He had abandoned me.
Jesus impacted the masses of people He encountered during His time on earth, but there were twelve men who were part of His closest circle. One of those twelve ultimately betrayed Him. Are you facing betrayal in your life right now? I do not believe there is anything more devastating to our well-being than the rejection and betrayal of someone whom we thought was an intimate friend.
Jesus never deceived His disciples. Almost from the very beginning of the three years that He spent with the Twelve, He started discussing the fact that He would face death and that they would watch it happen. But it was such a bizarre thought to those who heard it that they did not believe or have the capacity to understand what Jesus was telling them. After all, they had seen Christ's power to calm an angry sea, feed 5,000 men, and raise the dead to life.
Those intimate friends of Jesus watched in terror as He was led before wicked men who demanded His crucifixion on a cross He did not deserve. Don't you know that they were screaming inside, "Why aren't You defending yourself, Jesus! Don't You know that if You don't do something, You are going to be killed?" I don't think we have any concept of how difficult it must have been for these men, who had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, watch His beaten and torn flesh nailed to a cross. They were powerless to help the one Person who had changed everything they ever believed. Death was the end! How could the beautiful, challenging three-year adventure they had all lived out together be ending this way?
There are things in this life that just don't make sense. We cannot believe that God could be in the middle of the horror of the situation we are facing because our world being turned upside down just doesn't fit with our understanding of who we think He should be. You and I have been given precious promises in Scripture that are ours to claim, but we don't because our life's circumstances have created a chasm of unbelief in our souls.
What do we do when God doesn't fit? Do we become bitter and offended? Do we want to throw all that we know to be true about His character out the window because our minds cannot possibly understand why He has allowed something so precious to us to die? Our faith is never more shaken than when God is hidden from us.
But the truth is, death is not the end with Christ! Have we forgotten that we serve the One who conquered hell, death, and the grave? Jesus is continually making all things new. If He has allowed something to die, it is not to leave us in our confusion, but to give us the incredible opportunity to see His glory, His power, and His care for us in a way we have never experienced before.
What are you crying over that has died, sweet friend? Are you living in the fear that this is the end of all your joy, that life is never going to be good again? Jesus is the One who makes circumstances fit around Him! He makes a way through the mountain, provides sustenance out of nothing, and makes what was dead alive again. Don't go looking for Him to fit! He is the God of the impossible. Are you and I ready to allow Him to be God and give us real-life experiences that make us know for ourselves what the disciples came to know after Jesus was resurrected, though it defied human reasoning and logic? Suddenly, their darkened understanding was illuminated as they saw Christ standing before them. They realized Jesus was there, He was who He said He was, and with words that they could scarcely utter for the wonder of them, they whispered:
"It is the Lord!"
And they understood why He hadn't seemed to fit. It was because of their own misconceptions.
Jesus, You control my circumstances; my circumstances do not control You. You are not a fallible human being who makes any mistakes. You take no pleasure in my hurt and confusion. You long for my broken heart to see Your salvation in life's circumstances. Please do that for me. Please let me be grateful through the storm and cling to the truth of Your unfailing love for me when what You have allowed just doesn't seem to fit with what I know of You. Let me see You in a new way.