I was driving through the rural countryside in southcentral Kentucky when I got the call from my brother. I was shocked when he told me the news that our first cousin had fallen off a roof while serving on a mission trip. Multiple broken bones. Minimal brain activity. His condition was critical.
Over the next few weeks, thousands of people prayed for my cousin, while he remained unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Kentucky. We prayed for a miraculous recovery, but God had other plans. Nearly a month after his accident, my cousin’s earthly life came to an end.
His precious widow and the rest of our family were left with so many questions. Why did God allow this to happen to such a godly man? Why was he taken so early in life? Why did we have to go through this pain? For our family, life didn’t make sense during that time.
The details may change, but all of us face times in life when things don’t make sense. When the nurse tells you that she can’t find the heartbeat for your unborn baby. When your spouse tells you that they don’t love you anymore. When your supervisor tells you that you don’t have a job anymore. When the doctor tells you that it’s cancer. In those moments, life doesn’t make a lot of sense.
If you’ve ever been there, you know how hard it is to get through those times. You know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by worry, fear, and doubt. But there is hope. And that hope is found in the Word of God. Here are five Scripture passages to read when life doesn’t make sense.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
When life doesn’t make sense, it’s because we don’t understand our circumstances. So, Solomon tells us not to lean on our own understanding because our understanding is limited. We don’t get to see things from God’s perspective. We don’t get to see God’s plan and purpose for our circumstances. That’s why we must simply trust that God has a plan and purpose for everything we encounter. If we will acknowledge that God is with us in the good times and the bad times, He will see us through.
“But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph is a real-life example of a man who lived out Proverbs 3:5-6. If you know his story, you’ll know that Joseph had a lot of difficult times. His brothers sold him into slavery. His master’s wife made false accusations about him. He was unjustly imprisoned. And yet throughout all of these difficult circumstances, the Bible repeatedly says that God was with Joseph. And after God had placed him in a position of authority in Egypt and his brothers begged him for mercy, Joseph responds with the statement above. He didn’t view his circumstances from a human perspective, but from a heavenly perspective. He trusted in the LORD, even when he didn’t understand everything. But after he came through the other side of his trials, he saw God’s hand at work throughout those dark times. And just as God worked through Joseph’s difficult circumstances to accomplish His purpose, He will work through the tough times in your life as well.
“When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him.”
Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were close friends with Jesus. So, when Lazarus became ill, his sisters sent word to Jesus, expecting Him to drop everything He was doing to come and heal Lazarus. But Jesus intentionally delayed responding to the request. So when Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has already been dead four days. And this simply doesn’t make sense to Mary and Martha. They both tell Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.” These sisters can’t understand why Jesus didn’t rush to heal Lazarus. They knew who He was. They had seen His power to heal. They knew He had healed complete strangers, so it is unfathomable that He would not come and heal his friend Lazarus. But He doesn’t. And now these two sisters are mourning the loss of their brother, all because Jesus didn’t come when they asked Him to do so.
But Jesus had a plan all along. As He shared with His disciples earlier in John 11, His plan was to raise His friend back to life. And that’s exactly what He does. As a result, many people believed in Him. But they don’t believe in Him unless they see Jesus raise Lazarus back to life. And they don’t see Jesus raise Lazarus back to life unless Lazarus dies first.
As a child, I had to get allergy shots. And I didn’t like shots. So, it’s safe to say that I didn’t look forward to them. And neither did my mother. She didn’t like to see her baby boy in pain. But she took me every week and allowed me to suffer a temporary discomfort, because she knew there was a purpose behind the pain. And she knew that long after the pain was gone, I would still be reaping the benefits.
Whenever life doesn’t make sense for you, remember that there is always a purpose behind the pain. So, trust in the Lord and don’t try to lean on your own understanding.
“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”
Whenever life doesn’t make sense, we are prone to fear, just like the disciples on the boat. Notice the tone of their question, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” When the situation got tough, the disciples questioned Jesus’ love and care for them. But after Jesus calmed the storm, He identified the root of their fear. It was a lack of faith. Or, to use the language of Proverbs 3, it was a lack of trust in the Lord. You see, faith and fear are polar opposites. As one increases, the other decreases. If your trust and faith in the Lord is high, your fear and worry level will be low. But if your trust in the Lord begins to waver, your fear and worry will climb very quickly. As one goes up, the other must go down.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the good news is that no matter what happens in this life, we know it’s only temporary. The tears you shed today will be wiped away. The pain you feel today will be long gone. God will make all things new, and we will forever be with the Lord.
Your life may not make sense right now. But remember that the pain won’t last forever. There will come a day when God will make all things new. And on that day, it will all be worth it. But for now, just trust that God has a purpose for the pain.
These are just five Bible verses. There are hundreds more that speak to this issue. Which ones comfort you the most when life doesn’t make sense?