It seems like only yesterday, and yet in other ways it seems like years ago. The pain was like a neverending tsunami wave. My family and I had recently moved to Baton Rouge where I would serve as Lead Pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church. Our family was having supper at the home of a church visitor when I heard the cry of my wife. Twelve weeks pregnant with our fifth child, she was having a miscarriage. We rushed her to the hospital where our worst fears were realized, the death of a child. How could this be? Where was God?
Yes, even as a pastor of a local church I had questions concerning where God was during this season of pain. The question was answered for me as I read the prophet Habakkuk. Speaking on behalf of the people of God, Habakkuk cried out to God, “How long Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save?” (Hab 1:2). The prophet, like me and many others, wondered where God was in tragedy, confusion, and pain.
C.S. Lewis, reflecting on pain and suffering wrote, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
God was shouting to Habakkuk and to my wife and me through our pain, “I am here!” God’s response to Habakkuk and to us in our experiences of tragedy, confusion, and pain is “But the righteous one will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4). It seems like an odd response from God to Habakkuk, yet through this response God reminds us that even in our experiences of pain, God’s desire is for our faith to be increased in Him.
We find God in a world of tragedy, confusion, and pain as we increase our faith, hope, and trust in Him. God is there, in our tragedy, shouting to us, “Live by faith.” ■