These are things I really wrestled with in college. The difference is that back then, most of these situations were hypothetical. I knew they were probably happening somewhere. So I had it out with God over the "problem of evil," also sometimes put as "Why do bad things happen to good people?" or "Why do bad things have to happen to ANYONE?" I was really calling unto account God's ability to make good decisions. I promised myself two things during that time: 1.) I would never be afraid to question things down to that level again, and 2.) I would question thoroughly so I would never have to do it again.
So when I find myself asking similar questions now, some 10 years later, I do what I can to keep both promises. I decide to just go ahead a lay it all out there, knowing I likely will get no more answers this time than I did the last. And I didn't get ANY answers during that crazy time of questioning God. I just got to know Him. He didn't explain Himself to me or anything. What's different now is that I don't expect Him to.
Something else that is different this time around is that I am some manner or other of spiritual leader. While I am re-wrestling with God over the things I see going on in the lives of my girls or their friends, or others, I'm also trying to lead them through their wrestling, too. When I'm having my own questions about how to know I've heard God, I'm being asked questions about how to hear God. When someone asks why God hasn't answered their prayer for rescue, I'm asking the same question. Don't hear me wrong. I don't think it's a human's job to know all the answers. Somehow I was just expecting to know a few more....
This Sunday, the girls were over. We've been learning stories that go straight through the life of Christ, which I'm trying to conclude before our Christmas party. This means that I had to teach the entire week of the Passion in one hour. In order to simplify, I made a sort of virtual felt-board to help keep track of the characters and who was where when. Starting out, we have Jesus and his 12 disciples. (I don't really think Jesus was a head taller than everyone else....)
He's washing their feet and sharing what he knows will be his last meal with them. He also knows that one of the guys whose feet he just washed, named Judas, is going to betray him. He tells him to go ahead and do it. (I don't think I'd do that.) So then it's Jesus and the 11.
So there is Jesus with his three sleepy friends and then here comes Judas back with the Roman soldiers to arrest Him.
And then, with His last words, He trusted His soul to the one He didn't understand. "Into Your hands I commit My spirit."
Now, none of my questions are bigger than the one Jesus was asking. And none of my deciding to trust God anyway has such high stakes for me. But I was so grateful to be reading through this story with the girls and learning myself how there's nowhere I go in life where Jesus hasn't gone before me to show me how to do it. Even when being an example for us, He still asked, "Why?" He still tried to come up with a better way for the world to work than what He saw coming down the line. And it's because I can follow Him there that I can follow Him to hoping against all hope that somehow all things really will work for good. Somehow.