That’s where I live–the land of in-between. The verse on the cover reminds me that there are blessings to come from Jesus’ victory over death and His resurrection which are not yet a part of my experience. How do we face loss? Can people this side of the cross lament the brokenness of the Fall? Should we paint on a happy face and ignore the tragedy of a gunman walking into a church and murdering worshippers and then taking his own life? What are we to do with the reality of our experience?
Revelation is a powerful book that some people avoid because of the bizarre teachings people have read into it. But within its graphic imagery there is a theme of grappling with faith’s questions. Chapter 6 portrays a host of martyrs before God’s throne crying out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (v. 10).
Faith legitimately asks questions of God. No, not with defiance, but honest gut-wrenching questions. “Why does God appear to be so absent when my life is hurting so badly?” is not just Job’s question, it is the question of many other people who have spiritual integrity.
Many of us have to honestly acknowledge that we aren’t comfortable being around someone who is in a crisis that prompts him/her to long for the answers to such questions. Some of us are uncomfortable because our faith isn’t real enough to believe that God will hear those questions. Others know only a God who would destroy them for being so brazen as to be honest. And still others are afraid that the person asking such questions might turn to us for answers and we don’t have a clue.
The worst thing we could ever do is imply that such questions are illegitimate. That somehow they imply a lack of faith. They exhibit incredible faith and they arise out of recognition that while Jesus has already won the victory over death, the fullness of His resurrection is not yet our experience. Life comes with true hurts, disappointments and losses. God is not shocked to have us cry out that we want it to be made right. That’s what Jesus died to do!
John Kenneth King