In my recent post, Not Having All the Answers, I shared with you a struggle that an important person in my life was having and that I worked hard at not coming up with all the perfect theological and scriptural answers to help him solve his problem.
Today I have it on my heart to share the end of the story. Or you could say it was the beginning.
The person is my brother and the problem he faced (without going into his private details) was a legal one (albeit minor). A wrong attitude on his part combined with a falsehood told by the law enforcement side brought him to the day where he had to face things — but he was tempted to run away instead (literally). Depending on the mind of one judge, he could face an unknown amount of jail time. Long enough and he’d also face the upheaval of losing his business, dog, house – in short, his life.
For weeks, he struggled, prayed, wrestled, rationalized, talked, went back and forth, and fought mentally and spiritually over a decision that either way could change his life forever. For weeks, those of us who love him supported, listened, and loved him without telling him what he should do.
Photo credit: tonymiles.co.uk
Wrestling in Prayer
As he faced his fears and walked into the court room 70 miles away, I wrestled alone in prayer with God like I have never before in my life. Praying through individual Psalms, praying for the judge’s heart, praying for all the people involved in the case, praying for my brother to have strength to accept whatever the outcome. In tears asking for God’s mercy and at the same time affirming His goodness and asking His will to be done. That the situation be redeemed for His good purpose, though my heart was so deeply grieved and worried. Praising and worshiping Him in songs for who He was. Sitting sometimes in utter silence and submission waiting on Him.
These were both difficult and amazing moments. During that time, God’s presence was incredibly tangible. I do not say that I wish for suffering or crisis (doesn’t matter, I will get it anyway). But it was such a clear vision of why God allows suffering. I’m not saying it ties up all the loose ends of the “Suffering: why?” question. But in those moments, it was all surrendered to Him just how it needed to be.
Even a Mustard Seed
It takes faith and courage to stand and face your problems when it looks like it would be much easier to run away. It takes wholehearted trust in God and I don’t say that is easy, even for the most devoted believer. When I saw him hours before, he was scared, humanly speaking. This is the complexity of us as humans and believers: yes, we trust God. Yes, we can still be afraid.
End of the story: God had mercy that day. He didn’t end up with any jail time at all. And I ended up so much more blessed for the storm.