by Rick Warren — July 6, 2023
From How to Get Through What You’re Going Through
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
You’re going to go through tough times and experience major losses in life. Why? Because there is no growth without change; there is no change without loss; there is no loss without pain; and there is no pain without grief.
For 27 years, I prayed every day that God would heal my son’s mental illness. Matthew lived a very tortured, painful life. We went to the best doctors in the nation and had the best medications. We had thousands of people praying. We have a strong, supportive family that is full of faith.
And yet, my prayer for Matthew’s healing was never answered on Earth. I know he was healed the moment he entered God’s presence in heaven. But why not here? Why did he have to suffer so much? It just didn’t make sense.
After Matthew died, I wrote in my journal, “I’d rather walk with God with none of my questions answered than walk through life without him and know all the answers.”
Whenever you have a major loss, the tendency is to immediately look for a cause or a reason or an explanation: Why did he leave me? Why did I lose my job? Why did I get cancer? Why, why, why?
When you’re in pain, explanations don’t help. You don’t need an explanation. You need God. You need his comfort and his presence.
God says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2 NLT).
You may be devastated, but you will not be destroyed. The fire will not consume you, because God is with you in your pain and grief.
If the person closest to you were to suddenly die tomorrow, knowing the reason why wouldn’t lessen the pain any bit. So stop looking for an explanation. You don’t need it!
God has not promised an explanation for why everything happens in the world. But for everyone that follows Jesus, he has promised you’re not going to go through any of it on your own.