Heartbreaking Trials which I cannot Fix.
In my life, I have friends who are facing issues and trials that break my heart. Their trials are not mine to share but I am sure that you know the sort of things I mean. Trials which do not have simple answers. Trials which often have ongoing, life-long impact. For some it may be unfaithfulness in marriage, for others, death of loved ones, fatal illnesses, the impact of drugs, pornography or other addictive substances, mental illness or a myriad of other circumstances which we, as friends standing by, cannot fix.
I have found myself in the position of crying out to God,”Why Lord!?” I do not cry this out as though God must justify Himself to me or in accusation. My cry is more an emotional response of my own humanity. A recognition before God that, humanly speaking, I can see no good which could come from this. In my own weakness and inability to fix things for my friend, I cry out in empathy with her, “I don’t understand!”
Some things are not our’s to know.
More than once God has met me in that cry by reminding me of Duet 29:29(NIV)
This verse reminds me that there are things that God has not revealed to us. There will be things in this world (and perhaps in eternity) which I will not understand. And that is alright, because He promises that what He has revealed to us is sufficient. The things God has taught us about Himself are enough. They enable us to hold onto Him, even when we don’t understand the “WHYs”. (Things like these Foundations of my Faith.)
Entrusting my friend to the One who is powerful.
This morning I read through Ephesians 1. I found another response for when I feel the only thing I can do is call out, “Why?”. I found a special prayer I can pray for my friends who face seemingly insurmountable circumstances in life. In Eph 1: 17-20 (NIV) Paul prays:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…
I cannot fix my friend’s circumstances, but I can pray this prayer for her: that she would know her God better. Imagine if she was truly able to “see” the hope she has in Christ, to “see” the inheritance she has in Him, to “see” His power which is at work in her to enable and help her to face whatever may come. To “understand” the magnitude of that power – the power which raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in heaven to rule.
“Paul entrusted them to His mighty God and did not try to do the work Himself.”
Even as I type these words I know it would be tempting to turn them into an exhortation. You know how it goes…”I found this verse and I know the answer for you. You just need to have more faith, to know God better. If you dig into who He is through this time I just know that it will all turn out fine…” But that is not what this prayer is all about.
Paul prays that God would give the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that God would enlighten the eyes of their hearts. Paul entrusted them to His mighty God and did not try to do the work Himself. He did not put the responsibility on those he prayed for. As a “fixer” I need to remind myself of this and remind myself that the power at work in my friend as a believer is the same mighty power with which God raised Jesus from the dead. I can leave the results of this prayer in His hands.