Killed in action.
These are words nobody wants to hear–EVER.
Yet there are times, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” as Rabbi Harold Kushner writes in his book by the same name.
Rabbi Kushner wrote this inspirational classic after his three year old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live into his teens. The book reveals the heart of a spiritual leader, father and vulnerable human being as he deals with one of life’s most burdensome questions: Why, God?
It’s a question we find in abundance throughout the Psalms of King David. Like a bookend on a shelf, such a heartfelt inquiry starts Psalm 10.
Why, O Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?Psalm 10:1
Have you ever felt this way? I have. And the question that kept coming to mind was, “Where are you God?” But there was no immediate A after the Q.
Maybe you’ve experienced or know someone who has experienced a similar situation.
- They were supposed to get promoted, but are out of a job instead.
- Retired to enjoy their golden years, but then their spouse got sick.
- Had a marriage that wasn’t supposed to fail, but did.
- Lost loved ones, seemingly before their time, to a terrible disease.
I don’t intend for this to be a totally downer post, but reality says even the strongest believer can lose hope.
This happened to the disciples during their last meal with Jesus, when he delivered the following unwelcome news: “Guys, I’m about to be killed in action.” He also said He’d come back to life again in three days, but they didn’t hear that part. The Lord lost them at KIA.
In a moment, an ordinary Passover became the Last Supper. “This is NOT how the story is supposed to go!” blurted Peter. But it was already happening. Palm Sunday was about to become Face-Palm Friday.
This feeling persisted even AFTER the resurrection. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus spoke with two followers who said, “We had trusted (past tense) that He was the one to deliver Israel.”
Has anyone else ever been in what seemed like a totally hopeless situation–groping in the dark for answers? I have.
Apparently, King David’s critics like to taunt him with the same question over and over: “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3,10) However, they missed something; it was still early in the game. And like Rosabeth Moss Kanter says,
“Everything looks like failure in the middle.”
Near the end of Psalm 10 there is another book end, and this one isn’t a doubt filled question:
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.Psalm 10:14
Now these are words that are welcome–ALWAYS!
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.Psalm 46:1
Heavenly Father: Today, I choose to remember the dark seasons of my life, and to celebrate the fact that, even then and there, Jesus was all that I really needed. I praise you, God. For even though I was tempted to lose ALL hope, thanks to Your amazing grace I DID NOT!
Need help with resiliency? One of my go to sites is Don’t Lose Hope. It’s an online community focused on betrayal trauma, but addresses other life stressors as well. Please check it out!