Is our world safe?
Is God safe?
Am I safe?
A lot of people say “no, our world is not safe.” But “yes, God is.” And “yes, I am.”
After reading the book of Job, I disagree.
If we think God is good and trustworthy because He protects us from evil or answers our prayers, we are in for a catastrophic collapse of everything we thought was “safe”. It takes very little faith to believe God is good when everything turns out like we asked. It’s a whole different ballgame when God doesn’t save us from evil when we ask Him to.
You see, God isn’t safe. At least not in the way we think of as “safe”. He does not always protect. He does not always do what we ask Him to do. Bad things happen, even to perfectly innocent people.
It is not based on our performance. Neither is it based on how much He loves or doesn’t love us.
And it’s not random – though it feels like it sometimes. It’s not mean – though it can seem that way.
I could tell you that suffering is for your own good. (Romans 8:28, you know…) Or that it is for His glory.
But in the middle of the rubble of your world, words are cheap. Cliches are useless – and sometimes downright void of compassion. The nice little quotes that claim to neatly explain your suffering only compound the pain.
I get it. I’ve been there.
If only there was a magic formula. “Do this and this, in this order, and God will heal your pain and take away your suffering.”
Some supposedly exist. I’ve tried some of them.
Nothing has worked.
Except for turning to God. Wrestling with Him. Asking Him questions. Seeking His face. Lamenting. Grieving. Allowing myself to feel the anger and the sadness. Acknowledging what I lost and that I am different.
But most of all, I began to understand that God is good, not because of what He does, but because He knows what suffering – our suffering- feels like. He left everything and came to experience life in a broken world. He chose to sort through the rubble with us.
He weeps with us. He is okay with our anger at the injustice of oppression because He is angered too. He has felt every emotion we feel. He remembers that “we are dust.”
And He gives grace.
In His time, He brings healing.
Not the healing that makes everything go back to what it was before our world fell apart, but the kind of healing that makes us more compassionate, more beautiful, and closer to Him than we were before.
In that way, God is safe. He is safe because He chose to experience suffering – our suffering.
And because of that, I know I can trust Him.