She went in for a typical yearly check up. My wife is one of the healthiest people I know and we were not prepared for the phone call we received last December, “Your wife has cancer.” After grieving and holding my wife on the couch, it was as though life stopped and I was paralyzed in my tracks. Why God? How could you let something like this happen?
Have you been in a similar situation with someone you love? What kind of God lets stuff like this happen?
Matthew 5:45 says “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” The matter of fact is, life is not fair. But God is still good, just and sovereign. Because we live in a fallen world, bad things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
From Scripture we find three observations about life:
1. Trials are inevitable. Bad times are not a possibility, they are a promise: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
2. Trials tend to “make us” or “break us.” It’s a double-edge sword. Interestingly enough, the Chinese characters for the word, “crisis,” are depicted by two pictures: one representing “tragedy” and the other, “opportunity.” Your crisis can be a tragedy or opportunity, depending on how you respond. (James 1:2-4)
3. Victims fail to move beyond asking “why” and are stuck in their pain. Victims never get beyond the “why” questions. “Why me?” “Why did this have to happen?” “Why are you so unfair, God?” But conquerors and survivors stop asking “why,” and start asking, “what?”
Once you get through the emotional grieving and pain of “why,” we must move to ask, “God, what would you like to say to me through my broken world experience that would help me fulfill Your purposes in my life? What can You do in me to help others through this? Lord, what do You want me to learn through this? What do you want to do through me?
This pivotal question of asking “what?” instead of “why?” has the power to help you move through your broken world experience. It’s okay to ask “why” briefly, but to stay there is lethal.
Despite the difficult circumstances you or someone you know may find themselves in, God uses crisis as an opportunity to redirect your life positively, chaos as time to refocus your attention on Him, and confusion as a tool to clarify your purpose and calling on this earth. God did this for me as we’ve been on the journey with my wife’s breast cancer. We praise God that today her lymph glands are clear and she is on the road to recovery!
Keep Pressin’ Ahead!
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip