On August 3, 2013 Dr. Steve Pettit said these words at the funeral service of Chad and Courtney Phelps and their baby girl.
"When a church and when a people group like this goes through a tragedy that you have experienced it is just human nature to cry out, 'Why?' Is that wrong? I don't think so, just as long as you are willing to accept the fact that there is not one simple answer to your question. The truth is that there could be a million different answers because God uses and event like this and He works in an infinite number of ways in countless numbers of lives."
The question "why" goes back thousands of years. Job asked it thousands of years ago when he was in the midst of a huge trial. The psalmist asked it when he felt like he had reached the end of his rope. It was an especially relevant question during the 20th century in the midst of World War II, the holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields in Cambodia, etc. The question remains on our lips now in the 21st century. We have experienced our own pain and asked our own form of the "why" question. Why all this pain if God is such a loving God?
For Christians we ask our own form of the why question. Often we have become so comfortable in our own walk with God that when trials do come we become shaken almost to the very core of our belief. The question we often ask is, "Why do bad things happen to God's people?" I cannot stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. I don’t have God’s mind. I don’t see with God’s eyes. I Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." So when a big trial came to my front door on July 27, 2013 and I wanted to know why God would allow a bus accident to take the lives of my family members I didn't have the full answer. I couldn't understand with my finite perspective what God was doing. But someday I will. Someday I will see with clarity, but for now things are foggy.
My grandfather, Charles Richard Phelps Sr., has walked with God for many years now. Through his life God has seen fit to put him through some deep valleys and each time grandpa has come out walking even closer with God than he did before. On January 16, 1954 Grandpa lost his first wife, Blanch. Grandpa wrote this as he reflected on the week of the funeral:
"My heart was filled with sorrow but I'm sure that within that one week, through my encounters with the Lord, I had advanced more in my spiritual life than in the previous years of my Christian experience. Questions would come to my mind but oh, the joy, of sweet surrender!"
The truth is that we will grow the most in the midst of our trials not in spite of them.
Grandpa Phelps penned this poem which he entitled "Why, Lord?" as he reflected on the trial of losing his first wife. I trust that it will be a blessing to you today.
Posted by Caleb