September 13, 2012
Please Don't Give Me a Christian Answer
"The right word at the right time is like golden apples in silver jewelry." Proverbs 25:11 (NIRV)
I love Jesus. I love God. I love His Truth. I love people.
But I don't love packaged Christian answers. Those that tie everything up in a nice neat bow. And make life a little too tidy.
Because there just isn't anything tidy about some things that happen in our broken world. The shooting that recently happened in Aurora, Colorado, is awful and sad and so incredibly evil.
And God help me if I think I'm going to make things better by thinking up a clever Christian saying to add to all the dialogue. God certainly doesn't need people like me — with limited perspectives, limited understanding, and limited depth — trying to make sense of things that don't make sense.
Is there a place for God's truth in all this? Absolutely. But we must, must, must let God direct us. In His time. In His way. In His love.
And when things are awful we should just say, "This is awful." When things don't make sense, we can't shy away from just saying, "This doesn't make sense." Because there is a difference between a wrong word at the wrong time, and a right word at the right time.
When my sister died a horribly tragic death, it was because a doctor prescribed some medication that no child should ever be given. And it set off a chain of events that eventually found my family standing over a pink rose draped casket.
Needing time to wrestle with grief and anger and loss.
And it infuriated my raw soul when people tried to sweep up the shattered pieces of our life by saying things like, "Well, God just needed another angel in heaven." It took the shards of my grief and twisted them even more deeply into my already broken heart.
I understand why they said things like this. Because they wanted to say something. To make it better. Their compassion compelled them to come close.
And I wanted them there. And then I didn't.
Everything was a contradiction. I could be crying hysterically one minute and laughing the next. And then feel so awful for daring to laugh that I wanted to cuss. And then sing a praise song. I wanted to shake my fist at God and then read His Scriptures for hours.
There's just nothing tidy about all that.
You want to know the best thing someone said to me in the middle of my grief?
I was standing in the midst of all the tears falling down on black dresses and black suits on that grey funeral day. My heels were sinking into the grass. I was staring down at an ant pile. The ants were running like mad around a footprint that had squashed their home.
I was wondering if I stood in that pile and let them sting me a million times if maybe that pain would distract me from my soul pain. At least I knew how to soothe physical pain.
Suddenly, this little pigtailed girl skipped by me and exclaimed, "I hate ants."
And that was hands-down the best thing anyone said that day.
Because she just entered in right where I was. Noticed where I was focused in that moment and just said something basic. Normal. Obvious.
Yes, there is a place for a solid Christian answer. Absolutely.
But there's also a place to just weep with no answers at all.
God help us to know the difference.
Dear Lord, thank You for being there in my darkest time. I know You are real and You are the only one who can bring comfort to seemingly impossible situations. Please help me speak Your truth to those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
When we face hard times it can feel like life is falling apart. Lysa's new book, Unglued will help you keep your raw emotions under control, even when life feels out of control. Click here to order your copy!
The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about your emotions and better ways to use them for good in all of your relationships! To order your copy, click here.
Join the Proverbs 31 Ministries' Unglued Online Bible Study! This Unglued study, hosted by Melissa Taylor and Lysa TerKeurst, starts Sunday, September 23rd. You won't have to leave your house, change out of your pajamas, or even put on makeup. Click here to find out more and sign up!
Reflect and Respond:
Think of someone in your life who is going through a really tough situation. How can you make a difference in their life today?
Instead of words of encouragement, it may involve serving them and making sure their physical needs are met during this difficult time. Allow God to lead you as you try to serve your friend best.
Romans 12:15-16a, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another." (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 10:12, "The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs." (MSG)
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 13 September 2012.