Have you ever had a friend tell you something about himself/herself that changed your relationship? Maybe this friend shared a deep secret with you that made it impossible for your relationship to ever be quite the same again?
Like maybe after four years of marriage, your wife tells you that she has a black belt in karate! Or after ten years of living on the street, your best friend finally tells you that he’s the one who burned down your house. Or what if your parents waited for your eighteenth birthday party to tell you that you were actually their adopted child? (Sure, you probably always assumed that something funny was going on, your parents being Chinese and all, but still…the dynamics of your relationship would change somewhat.)
This is kind of what happened to my relationship with God when I was in college. I thought I knew Him quite well…until the day that He told me in His Word that He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).
This changed our relationship forever. Why? Because I had seen a lot of things that didn’t seem to come from the hand of a loving God.
Working at an orphanage in Guatemala, I saw an orphan boy who had never known the love of a family. During the heart of winter in Minneapolis, I gave a blanket to a mom and her little baby who were homeless and sleeping under a business walk-ramp. In Poland, I had walked through the Auschwitz concentration camp where countless Jews were tortured and butchered during the Holocaust. On September 11, 2001 I found myself in my parents’ basement watching the news replays of the hijacked airplanes colliding into the World Trade Center, ending the lives of at least 2,985 people.
To think that my God (my Savior and Friend) had control over all these horrible situations…and yet still allowed them to happen…I didn’t understand it – at all. And I went through a season of serious questions and a deep wrestling with this Sovereign God.
What about the rape that crushed this girl’s heart? What about the suicide that ended this man’s life? What about my unborn sibling who never made it into this world? What about the divorce that tore apart this family and ended this ministry? What about the cancer attacked this precious baby before her 1st birthday? What about this teenage girl whose life was taken because of a drunk driver?
…Is all of this seriously a part of the counsel of your will? If it is…do I really want to follow a God who would allow so much hurt?
During that time, this God who I had come to question did a powerful, healing work in my heart that forever changed our relationship. He showed me that He is God….and I am not. I will never be able to understand the depths of Who He Is and what He is doing. And He isn’t asking me to understand. He is asking me to trust that (regardless of the way it looks or of the way I feel) He loves me…and that “He is working all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9
This song, “Tears and Glass”, was written as God brought me through that season of questioning. Today, I am a pastor…and this song has become my core theology of God: “I believe in You because You are the only one who knows what I don’t understand.” I believe in God because, even though life is full of hurt, in Jesus…it is also filled with hope. He isn’t asking us to understand…just to trust that He does.
“The more I know…The more I know ‘I don’t know’.” Still, I trust that all of my unknown is known by God. And I rest in knowing that.
Tears and Glass
What about the orphan boy who’s never tasted love
No one sees his tear-stained eyes
What about the little girl, raped when she was only twelve
Her screams go unheard in the night
And how can You watch the homeless sleep out in the cold
What about “God so loved the world”?
And what about the hurricanes or the tombstones of war
How can this be beautiful?
And why do You allow hurt like the holocaust
To play a part of Your plan?
I don’t understand
But I still believe in, I still believe in You
Are these not Your footprints in the sand
I still believe in, I still believe in You
‘Cause You’re the only one who knows
What I don’t understand
The unborn child and her innocent little eyes
She breathes for the last time tonight
Daisies in her hair and angels in the snow:
This is the life that she will never know
A love-torn memory floods the picture frame
Tears and glass collide on the floor
The colors fall again as towers kiss the ground
A bride won’t hear “I love you” anymore
Designer of All, Life is in Your hands
It’s just sometimes I don’t understand
Still, You are the One who died
And still, You are the One who lives
You are the One who takes away
And You are the One who gives
This song is the title track off of our second album. Perhaps because of its honesty, (and because everybody eventually walks this road of questions at some point in their life) it has been WeakSide’s “most-listened to” song since it was released in 2006. If you get a chance to listen to it, I hope that it encourages you.