I’d like to start this post by officially saying hello to all the people who have started following my blog as a result of my being Freshly Pressed for my article on the Noah movie. Though I’m aware that all of the 300 or so people who now follow me don’t necessarily read or care about any of my posts, I am thankful for each of them. That blog was polarizing, yet simply the result of me not wanting to write a book in a Facebook post, so I realize that the beliefs of some who now follow me are probably as different from mine as night is to day. I accept this, I love this, and I thoroughly appreciate dialogue with those who are different from me.
All of that said, I started this blog almost two years ago as a way to deal with the death of one of my best friends.
The months following June 9, 2012 were some of the most gut wrenching, horrible months of my life. In those months, my heart was torn irreparably and I almost quit on my relationship with God. At the time, I couldn’t grasp the concept of a God who loved me in the face of such horror.
So I wrestled, I fought, I studied, I begged him to help my unbelief.
I begged him to remedy the hole in my chest and help me to trust him with all the pain I held onto. My only comfort was in memories of my friendship with Jordan, and even those were laced with an emptiness I still cannot fully describe.
And Jordan’s words always haunted me, the ones about trusting God, no matter what. The ones about those he loved and the Savior who longed for them, and his own grief at the suffering of others.
I screamed at him in anger, in desperation. And as time went on, God revealed himself to me in many ways, he comforted me, heard me, gave me hope when I had no words left. He gave me the strength to be a light to others and remind them that it is okay to be a broken mess, it’s okay to not have all the answers. He showed me his sovereignty in all things as he lovingly placed me in situations where my story could help heal others. And that is power of the God I serve!
I have thought a lot about a God who would allow suffering, and I don’t have every answer to those questions, but I know and believe in a God who put himself in the center of suffering as a loving, comforting Father who rested above it and as a lowly Son who took the full brunt of suffering and drank in every ounce of a wrath I deserved.
I am by no means so deluded that I believe I have moved past the grief of losing a friend, so I concede that I am a work in progress. I by no means understand God’s ways and reasoning for everything. I miss Jordan terribly, I see his family’s pain and I still wonder why. But that isn’t for me to know.
I know where I stand as of now, believing that the love of God is stronger than anything I could ever imagine. I know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding is real. I know that the Holy Spirit is constantly present. I know that I am not alone. Perhaps one day I will be able to articulate all that I’ve learned since June 9, 2012 with eloquence and wisdom I don’t yet know.
That said, the purpose of this entire blog that I call Panic, Preacher. Panic! is to point to the God who stands above all of our suffering with open arms. He isn’t on the other side of our tragedies waiting for us to claw our way to him, yet he is right there in the middle of it with us. I don’t claim to be able to convert or convince those who might disagree with me with a few posts on a website, but I stand firm on the premise that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. He is the only peace in this world. He is our only hope.
If you’re reading this, know that you are loved. Your pain is not your undoing, and in many ways it is your redemption.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”-Romans 12:15