What do we do when we just don’t have the answers? When we’ve exhausted every possible solution and are still at square one? When everything feels horrible and this issue is a cloud over our heads?
What do we do when we can’t find regular employment and have bills to pay and mouths to feed? What do we do when the road to recovery from a major injury seems like it never reaches its destination? What do we do when we’ve lost a loved one? What do we do when the world seems to stop and turns dark around us?
Do we try to fix it by ourselves? We are only capable of so much, and if these issues were something we could simply take care of, they really wouldn’t be all that concerning, would they? Do we rely on others to solve our problems for us, then? Well, others can most certainly help and make these things much easier to cope with, but the ultimate solution is beyond them as well. So, what then, do we just sit idly by and seep in every moment of pain these struggles can cause us? Surely not! Yet, too often any of these three solutions are looked to, and anything outside of them is ignored.
Or, we do what we should have from the very beginning. We open our Bibles and read Scripture, pull our hymnals off the bookshelf and sing praises to the Lord, pray earnestly – and not just before eating and going to sleep – and come to the Lord’s Table as often as possible. We wake up in the morning and find that our trouble remains, as of yet unsolved. Yet for some reason it doesn’t feel as crushing as it had the day before; the weight on our chest is lightened and we have room to breathe. When we, as part of the New Israel of all believers, trust the God of our faith, who saved Noah from the flood and Lot from the destruction of Sodom, led Moses and the Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery and toward the Promised Land, rescued Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego from the fiery furnace and Daniel from a den of lions, healed the lame, gave vision to the blind, raised up Lazarus and others from the dead, gave His Son to suffer and die by crucifixion that we may have life eternal, and has been merciful to His people so many times that this sentence realistically should have been its own paragraph (and it’s list is far from comprehensive still), the nature of the outcome is certain.
Now, we don’t always know what that outcome will look like, how it will transpire, or even how long it will take before it comes to fruition, but we know that it will be good and according to God’s will. Abraham desperately wanted a son to whom to pass on his inheritance. God did him better, raising up for him offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky or the grains of sand in the desert. Joseph only wanted out of prison after being falsely accused of rape, yet God rose him up to be Vizier (essentially second in command beneath Pharaoh) over the land of Egypt, was told how to prepare for the famine (and forewarned of the famine) by God, and later brought his father down to be Egypt to be taken care of, forgiving his brothers who sold him into slavery. Paul wanted power in the Temple and killed Christians to achieve it. After an encounter with Christ Himself to show him the error of his ways, Paul was not only forgiven, but made to be an apostle and the author of a large portion of our New Testament.
No matter what it is that we ask for, God always delivers more. Even with the most basic – but also greatest – gift He has given us, He finds ways to make it better than what we request. We seek forgiveness from God for the sins we have committed against Him. He not only just forgives us and frees us from Hell, but invites us into His Kingdom beyond our days in this world, rather eternally. Not only are we freed from sin, but also from death. There is only one end to this road – and that end is ironically the lack of an end. That gift of grace, held firm by a hand of faith, is that one-way ticket to a tropical paradise you’ve yearned for (if only that tropical paradise was a true paradise without sin and death).
The price for our sin, the root of all suffering, was paid for by the very Body and Blood of God incarnate. Why try to pay our own way through? Praise the Lord for all his mercy and remember in faith that Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, is the way, and the truth, and the life.