We face a danger in the Christian life, to explain away suffering the moment it hits. We see incredible pain and say, “God must have a greater plan.”
Those words feel so hollow in light of the incredible tragedy setting in over the city of Paris. If God spoke directly to Paris, right now, I don’t think He would say, “Everything is going to be okay.” I don’t think He would say anything. I think He would weep.
When God has No Words
Never was this truth clearer to me than shortly after I began dating my wife. In three months, she lost three friends from her high school graduating class. While sitting and worshipping during a college retreat, she stood up and walked off, weeping.
Our group slowly dispersed, some offering her words of comfort, others leaving her be. I was the last to approach her. She wrapped her arms around me and began to cry again. Oh God, I remember thinking, what am I supposed to say to her? Please give me the words, I pleaded.
Several minutes passed, and I had nothing to say. Then quietly, I heard her whisper, “Thank you for not preaching at me.”
That moment taught me something about the nature of God. If we really believe God has a bigger plan, then we should surrender our fight to explain it. We should give ourselves the freedom to weep. Don’t be too quick to speak. Often God is heard loudest when we surrender our desire to explain Him.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
and like vinegar on soda.
[share-quote author=”Dietrich Bonhoeffer” via=””]Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words.[/share-quote]
Of course there’s more that can be said. There’s always more. But not here, and not now.
Let us surrender our desire for answers and run to the Prince of Peace. Let us remember the God who is near, the God who weeps.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men.
God weeps with you, Paris. And so do we.