By Stephanie Schannuth
Andrea Palpant Dilley was raised by Quaker missionaries in Kenya. It was there that she was exposed to unspeakable death and darkness at a very young age. In her teens, Andrea began to question God's goodness in respect to all of the suffering she had witnessed. By the time she reached her mid twenties, she completely rejected Him. What drove her away was her anger at God over the injustices and suffering that she had observed as a child. How could an all powerful, all knowing God allow such suffering of innocent children? As the years went on, she argued God's existence and morality; she doubted His promises, until finally one day she realized that she could no longer talk of these injustices without talking about God as well. She began to walk back into belief and ultimately returned to the church for the same exact reason she left it. Although her doubts about a righteous God made her question, she held on to the truth of His word proclaiming "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)
"Pain and suffering are part and parcel of our planet, and Christians are not exempt." says Phillip Yancey. As Christians, all of us have experienced the undesirable reality of pain and suffering. We experience times of darkness or drought within our prayer lives. And yet we know at some point in our lives that we will all tread these dreaded waters in spite of the begging and pleading we present before the Lord through prayer. In our finite minds it is hard to grasp and accept; yet we are called to remember that God is God, and we are not. We must remember that it is He who has implanted morality on our hearts in the first place.
Whatever it is you face today, whether it be health concerns, loss of a loved one, marital difficulties, financial stress, or catastrophic events, will you put your hope and trust in the One who promises never to leave us, never to forsake us? Will you surrender your doubts and anxieties about prayer to a God who never sleeps, who is infinite in knowledge and has ordained each one of your days? Continue to pray and believe that He is who He says He is, and have faith in His sovereignty. Trust that the suffering He allows is intended for a greater good, no matter the outcome.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."