Good morning, Lord Jesus. I seek You and need You. So as best as I can and all by Your grace, I entrust this day and my life to You. 

"Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1)

It seems we are in the midst of all the tragedies in our land that are coming wave after wave, one after another – hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, racial violence, ISIS attacks, and mass shootings.  And we're tempted to ask "Why?"  We want to know "Are we under attack or under judgment?" We wonder, "What have we done and what can be undone? What can we do now or is there anything we can do?" We take our questions go to Facebook, Youtube, and other online sites with so called “prophets” looking for answers. And in the midst of our questions, we find ourselves directing our questions to You God.  "Why, God?  Why do you allow this to happen?  Why God? Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why, God? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? Where, God? Where we You when we needed You? Where are You now?"

Some would say we should never ask "Why?" Some would say that's dishonoring and disrespectful, allowing our thoughts and our hearts to be filled with doubt that could lead to disbelief or hopeless despair. But that's not my theology. That's not my experience in my journey of faith with You, God. 

I've found that You're a God who calls us to come with our questions, to open up our hearts with our need for guidance and our desire for answers. You're a God who listens, who cares, who comes alongside us in our confusion and concern, who sees us in our suffering and in our frustrations and fears. And You're a God who reminds us that You're always with us through whatever we endure on our journey of faith through this broken and fallen world, though the things that break our hearts and Yours.

So I bring You my questions and listen for Your answers. We don't turn our own children away when they come to us with their questions. And neither do You. A loving father or mother doesn't tell their children "Be silent. Don't question. Just learn to take it. Just shut-up and get over it." And neither do You. We allow them to ask "Why?" And so do You. 

"Why?" is an expression of one of the deepest yearnings You've placed in our hearts to draw us nearer to You. As we ask our questions, seeking to know and understand, to sort out the confusion and the chaos of all our tragedies and trials, seeking to learn the principles and solve the problems, to learn from our mistakes as we learn to love in the midst of it all, our questions of "Why?" ultimately lead us to the question of "Who?"

As our "Whys?" turn to "Who?" our questions may begin with "Who did this?" or "Who allowed this?" but sooner or later, they will lead us to the questions of "Who will be with me through this? Who will give me the grace and the wisdom and the power to overcome this?" Then, in the fullness of time -- after the journey of shock and denial, anger and pain, forgiveness and healing -- our questions will even become, "Who will use this in my life and in the lives of others? Who will even cause good to come out of this evil and triumph out of this tragedy that You never intended and You will not ignore?" 

You never waste a moment of our suffering or miss an opportunity to draw us nearer. In the power of Your grace and the sovereignty of Your love, You will always have the last word as we turn our questions and our hearts to You. And Your word for us is always good for Your nature is always good (Exodus 33:19, Mark 10:18). In Your time and in Your way, You cause it all to work together for good because You love us and You're for us, because You're always with us to always bring us through it all (Romans 8:28). 

As You promised Your children in their times of questions long ago and still promise us in our times of questions today, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I Am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.... You are precious in My sight, and honored, and I love you.... Do not fear, for I Am with you" (Isaiah 43:1-5).

Through countless experiences of Your constant Presence, I have come to find peace in the One who always allows me to wrestle through my questions and always walks with me along my journey. Thank You for giving me permission to ask the questions of "Why?" And thank You that in one of the most profound examples of our freedom to ask "Why?" You asked that very question of our Father as You hung upon the cross in Your unfailing love for every one of us:  "And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' "(Matthew 27:46). There, You bore upon Yourself for each one of us all "our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4,). Then You entrusted Your spirit and Your questions into the hands and the heart of our loving and faithful Father (Luke 23:46). 

There at the cross, for You and for us, the question of "Why?" led to the Answer of "Who" -- to the One who sees the end from the beginning and causes all things to work together for good -- even the things that break our hearts and Yours. Lord, keep giving me grace to keep asking my questions and giving me faith to keep finding my Answer in the One who's always so faithful to me. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23). In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

My family, may you always be free to ask God "Why?" as He uses your questions to bring you closer to Him in the sovereignty and faithfulness of His unfailing love for you, in Jesus' name! Please pray the same of me. I continue today to join with you in prayer for all who are suffering or shaken by what has happened in Las Vegas and has been happening in our world. Together we call upon the name of the Lord who hears us when we call to answer us and lead us to His salvation and peace. God bless you, my friends!

Gary Liederbach-Lead Follower

One Direction Community (ODC)

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A group of us from ODC will be attending the Reunion 2017 event this weekend.  Reunion 2017 is a spiritual retreat of worship, teaching, prayer, and relaxation held on a farm in Bon Aqua, Tenn. We will be camping without electricity so I will be off “grid” and will not post a blog again until Monday at the earliest.

 

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