How do you account
for all the pain we encounter and still believe in a good God? I’m put off by Christians who resolve the issue by affirming,
“Yes, God
is good!” when the evidence suggests something else.

of life is about learning to know and trust God. Most of my life, I’ve
only known him from a distance. We’ve been like the couple in the movie
Say Anything, waving at each other across the room at the party.

In 1990, I lost my job and was betrayed by two close friends. My
world fell apart. God forced my hand. He had to destabilize me in order
to woo me, so that I might know him and eventually trust him.

At the time, it didn’t feel like grace. I felt wounded and wretched
and wanted to die. I had no language to sort through the shards of my
life. I was so absolutely shattered and discombobulated that God was all
I had left – I had no where left to turn. Ultimately, I sought him like
a hungry animal looking for food. And he responded with tenderness. It
was a long and terrible process, but it proved the reality of Jer. 29:13
– “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole

One of the things that helped me is that I chose not to blame God for
my wounds. A lot of people get stuck asking, “Why?” – bowing down at
the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of bowing at the Tree
of Life and worshiping. Read the end of the book of Job. God “is who he
is.” He doesn’t have to answer to us.
We won’t ever understand “Why?”
until we cross over to the other side of eternity. So many people get
hung up in No-man’s Land – demanding an explanation instead of choosing
to trust a God who loves us and has the bigger picture.

Yesterday I caught up with a friend who was going through the same
process, “I feel so raw,” she said. “I’ve spent so much time crying and
asking questions.” She described it as a wilderness time.

It’s taking my friend a couple of years to find her way out of the
wilderness – about what it took for me. Why God lets it take so stinkin’
long, I don’t know. I guess he figures it took us a long time to get
into that mess and become thoroughly self- sufficient. Getting out of
the mess, to be gracious, needs to proceed at an organic pace that
allows us to grow into our new skins.

We don’t get to know people overnight and trusting them deeply takes
longer. It takes years to develop a second sense about them, to
understand why they do what they do. And God is the same way. He takes

Learning to trust God seems to require learning to stop relying on
yourself so much. It means radical change at our core. Most of us don’t
like change of any kind, much less surgery on our core self. Surgery
hurts; it incapacitates and can even make us howl with pain.

God, the divine surgeon, is worth trusting. He loves us more than we
can know. His wounding seems grievous, but it restores us to wholeness.
If you find yourself under his knife, be still and learn to trust him.
will laugh again.