We’ve all had those moments when, despite our best prayers, the worst happens. Times when we pray for healing, but a loved one still passes away; or we pray for health, but get a bad diagnosis; or we pray for our children’s salvation, and they remain prodigals.
These heartbreaking moments are easy to avoid as Christians. We glaze over them with empty platitudes. We emphasize the miracle stories and ignore the seemingly unanswered prayers.
Unfortunately, those of us in the midst of our heartbreaks are often drowning in a sea of doubt: where was God? Why didn’t He answer my prayers? Why did He leave me in my suffering?
This isn’t something unique to us or our time. In fact, there’s an entire book of the Bible that steps into this tension: Job. Despite his loyalty to God and constant prayer, Job lost everything: his wife, his children, his possessions, and his health. When God appears to Job, amid his pain, He doesn’t explain his reasoning nor defend Himself. Instead, in a flourish of dramatic poetry, He essentially says: “I am God, you are not” (Job 38-41). Rather than doubt or question God, Job recognizes that God is all-powerful and knows far more than we, as humans, ever will.
At some point, we need to recognize what Job recognized: we are not God. We cannot fathom His reasons or His ways. We have to trust that God answers our prayers in His way, which is far better than our way. We have to believe that God will work all things, even the heartbreaking disappointments, for our good and His Glory (Romans 8:28).
While it may not be an easy solution, the only answer to suffering is humble surrender to God.
Tori Troen is a summer intern at New Life Church.