I have a friend who is struggling with infertility right now. I have many friends who have been sexually assaulted. Friends who have husbands who don't love them...or wives that won't respect them. I have friends who have gone to the dark places of depression, and those who have been financially devastated to the point of bankruptcy. I have seen the heartbreak of the parent whose child has gone astray...or has exited this life. I have shared in those journeys and have walked my own.
And in each case, we ask--at some point--why? And while God's purposes are myriad and only partly fathomable, I think we can answer for certain this painful question with this one word:
We come to Christ seeking life. He says, to live you must die.
We come to Christ seeking wholeness. He says, to be whole, you must be broken.
And He, our example and High Priest, isn't asking us 'to go where no one has gone before.' He Himself has has faced every temptation and tasted every sorrow. He Himself was broken. We sing, "I have decided to follow Jesus," but will we follow Him here?
We start proud; it is our very nature. But it is in brokenness that we find healing and hope. It is in brokenness that we truly worship. It is in brokenness that we find God. David understood this: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
So the sorrows come not for our destruction, but for our healing. We will not naturally or of our own accord struggle and suffer to the depths necessary to become the people we need to be. But God, in his great grace, walks us through the struggles to the place of our redemption. And in that place, we are healed and God is glorified.
It's a beautiful story, but it is one only written in sorrow. In suffering. In blood. This is where we bear our cross. This is how we die to self. And in the end, the story is declared in Glory...and is to the praise of His glorious grace.
So ask the question, but know now that at least part of the answer is this: The pain is producing beauty, and the path to beauty is brokenness.
Longing for beauty,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." -Jesus, Matthew 5
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer... --Isaiah, prophesying of Jesus