It is so hard not to portion blame when things go wrong in life. It’s hard not to see that someone was at fault or did the wrong thing. When circumstances are left unexplained in life, it’s even harder not to blame God. How did He allow this to occur? What have I done so wrong that I am being punished? But these questions help me to lament over the circumstances of my life, and begin to trust in my Heavenly Father.
When you’re born with a disability, it’s hard not to wonder why God allowed circumstances and events to occur. You start to think that if things played out differently would my life be very different to what it is like today? Or you get an autoimmune disease and you think what did I do to bring this on? Your disability and treatment used to manage the autoimmune disease leaves you in a position of running the risk of breaking bones, and you start to think what did I do to deserve this? Am I to blame? Is this my fault? When trauma causes mental illness, you think would my life be very different if that never occurred? And then you’re informed that your hormones, which everyone has, is the reason why you want to end your life, and you think why did I get chosen to have this condition? What is wrong with the body that I have been given, that all these things keep on happening? What is going on here?
It’s hard then not to have your heart hardened by the circumstances you’re in. It’s hard not to wallow in self-pity, and think why? It’s hard to trust that God is good and sovereign over your circumstances. It’s hard to not feel that you’re being treated unfairly. It’s hard not to think well God is the one who created me, surely it’s His fault that I am like this? It’s hard not to think that if He really loved me, He will heal me. I know He can heal me if that is what He wanted to do. It’s hard then to not let disappointment of unanswered prayers for healing turn into anger, bitterness and frustration that life has turned out this way.
And then you start to feel or are told that you’re a bad Christian for even thinking that God is to blame for all this. But you justify it by telling yourself that people don’t know just how hard life is when you live with a disability and multiple illnesses. You think that God loves them more than you. And then you start to realise that all these thoughts are contrary to the Bible.
However, I firmly believe that these thoughts are a very natural and normal response for everyone, Christian or not. I believe that this is a process that we must go through to trust God with our circumstances. This is a process of lament.
In the book Dark Clouds Deep Mercy, Mark Vroegop outlines the process of Biblical Christian lament. He talks about the book of Lamentations and the Psalms of lament, and uses these parts of the Bible to explain the process of lament. A process that includes bringing our questions to God. Through this book I have seen that questing God has actually been part of my process of lamenting over different situations in life. I can see that this is what David does all throughout the Psalms, and that this process of complaining ultimately helps me to develop a trust in God. As Vroegop so helpfully illustrates, it is when we stay in the stage of complaint that there is a problem in our heart.
I think it’s what we choose to do in the process of lamenting that makes all the difference. I don’t think we can blame God for the circumstances in our life, but I do think that questioning the circumstances in our life is a very healthy thing to do. However, we then need to turn those complaints into trusting and filling our mind with the truth. We need to remind ourselves that we live in a fallen and broken world. It was never God’s intention in designing the world to create a place where pain and suffering would occur. Man disobeyed God (Genesis 3). By disobeying God, sin entered the world through one man, and with it pain, suffering, sickness and death (Romans 5:12). Likewise, through One Man, Jesus, the penalty of sin was paid in full on the Cross (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:19; 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus death and resurrection provide me with hope in my circumstances, because I know that one day my body will be restored in heaven.
The process of lamenting and questioning life’s circumstances ultimately leads me to having hope in my situation. It allows me to start trusting God. It helps me to see the truth that I have a Father in heaven who knows how to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11). Although, I have not asked for my life to be like this, I know that in someway it is a good gift. My disability and multiple illnesses is no ones fault. God is not to be blamed for the circumstances I find myself in. Rather it is for my good, it is a good gift because it forces me to always keep looking up to Jesus and trusting Him.