I spoke this last weekend at church for the first time since Christopher’s early departure to heaven. I asked everyone to indulge me for a couple of weeks as I essentially preached messages to myself.
This coming Sunday, September 21, I plan to speak on the topic of heaven. What is heaven really like? What will we do when we are there? How should the truth that we will go to heaven one day affect us here on earth?
“Where were you, Lord?”
But my message title for this last Sunday was “Where Were You, Lord?” It was based on John 11, which is the story of the unexpected death of Lazarus and the inevitable grief that followed. It is a story where Jesus showed how He can be glorified through the toughest of circumstances, even the death of a loved one.
To watch the message, click here.
Here is an excerpt from what I said:
So Lazarus had died.
When Jesus finally did come to town, Mary confronted Him with these words: “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died!” (John 11:21)
Pretty brash words. Have you ever felt that way?
- “Where were you, Lord?”
- “Where were you when my marriage dissolved?”
- “Where were you when my parents divorced?”
- “Where were you when my child went astray?”
- “Where were you when my loved one died?”
Notice that Jesus did not reprove Martha for what she said. This is a good reminder to us to know that it is not sinful to tell God how you feel.
Look at the Psalms, as David honestly cries out to God. He would honestly cry in his pain: “‘O God my rock,’ I cry, ‘Why have you forsaken me? Why must I wander in darkness, oppressed by my enemies?’ Their taunts pierce me like a fatal wound. They scoff, ‘Where is this God of yours?’” (Psalm 42:9-10 NLT)
Then he corrects himself and says: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:11 NLT)
Sometimes I preach to myself. I have done this many times. In my pain, I will cry out to God.
I won’t tell you what I say, because that is between God and me. But sometimes when the reality of my son’s death hits me, all I can say is, “Oh God!”
But then I will preach to myself! I’ll say, “Greg, your son is more alive than he has ever been and he is in God’s presence right now and you will see him again!”
Even Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
But the key is that He prayed, “My God, My God . . . ”
The point is we must pray! You can fault Mary and Martha all you want, but they brought their doubts to Jesus!
It’s not wrong to verbalize your questions, even your doubts. The problem is when you withdraw from God and others, when you become angry and bitter and won’t pray at all.
Through all of this, I have cried out to God. Not because I am so strong and spiritual, but because I am so weak and in need.
Cry out to the Lord!
Has tragedy or calamity befallen you? Cry out to the Lord!
When calamity befell him, dear old Job was devastated. We all remember the fact that he worshipped God, saying, “Naked I came into this world, and naked shall I return there . . . Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 NKJV).
Why did this happen?
Another issue I raised in this message was the “Why” question. Why did this happen?
I will deal with that in my next blog entry. God bless you all.