May 15, 2020

Nearness to God

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit
—Psalm 34:18

It's popular these days to ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" But the Bible answers a different question. As Eugene Peterson wrote: "the wicked experience suffering as utter despair, the complete destruction of all that is important; the righteous experience it in nearness to God, who preserves his children through every adversity." *

In other words, "good" people shouldn't expect only good things to happen. But the twofold promise of God is that we (and seriously, how dare we call ourselves good?) will never be alone when we experience difficulties, and that bad things will never be our downfall. So if I cannot find the definitive answer in the Bible, perhaps I should ask a question less self-serving.

I ask not to avoid suffering, Lord. I ask instead that when it comes, I will feel you near; in Jesus' Name. Amen.

*in Praying with the Psalms (HarperSanFrancisco 1993), March 14.

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