Pain and Praise

Posted: November 16, 2006 in problem of pain, speaking, yancey

I’m headed out this weekend to speak at a retreat for a church where a good friend of mine works as youth minister. I’m so grateful that the Lord continues to use me and the gifts he’s given me to further His Kingdom and bless those who are trying to walk with Him.

The theme of this retreat is “Praise You In This Storm.” This youth group lost a young woman to murder this past summer. The crime was heinous, brutal and–like all murders–completely unnecessary. Though the retreat was not envisioned with this event in view, the weekend will focus on how to love and worship God in a world that is so enormously fallen.

In preparation for the weekend, I’ve revisited some of the more painful events from my life and how I saw God and discovered Him anew in the midst of them. One of the best resources for me has been the pen of Philip Yancey. Yancey’s work is among the very best of popular Christian literature. I love these words from his book, Disappointment with God:

“Some Christians long for a world well-stocked with miracles and spectacular signs of God’s presence. I hear wistful sermons on the parting if the Red Sea and the ten plagues and the daily manna in the wilderness, as if the speakers yearn for God to unleash his power like that today. But the follow-the-dots journey of the Israelites should give us pause. Would a burst of miracles nourish faith? Not the kind of faith God seems interested in, evidently. The Israelites give ample proof that signs may only addict us to signs, not to God.”

Good words, I think, for people like me who often want the benefits of God more than they actually want God.

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