October 2022 Newsletter
Ask who, not why
by Pastor Mike Novotny
Have you ever experienced a “why cry”? That’s when you cry out to heaven in confusion and exhaustion because you can’t grasp how a good God would let something so bad happen.
God, why did you let him do those things to me when I was a helpless kid?
God, why did you let my mom die when she and I were both so young?
God, why didn’t you save my marriage? Why didn’t you save my career? Why didn’t you cure my chronic pain? God, why?
A “why cry” can shake your faith, mostly because there is no appendix after Revelation in the Bible to explain why specific things happen to specific people.
That’s why it is so essential to focus not on the why, but on the who.
Think about who God is and who you are. He is the independent Creator who needs nothing and no one to be happy. You are the desperately dependent creation who needs food and water and air every day. Yet guess who cares about you? God does. He is also the Holy One who has never and will never sin. You are a human who was born in sin and has been sinning ever since. Yet guess who longed to bring you into his presence? God did.
Who is God? He is merciful. He is forgiving. “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He is the God who saw our sinful condition and pitied us so deeply that he planned to save us through the death of his only Son.
The Bible’s best answer to your “why cry” is a simple who. That’s what gives us faith to trust him, even when we don’t understand him.
A. W. Tozer, the pastor and prolific author, once touched on the power of focusing on who instead of on why. He said, “I think it would be wonderful if every preacher in America would preach about God and nothing else for one solid year. . . . After that, let a man get up and preach a promise, and the whole congregation will say, ‘I can trust that promise; look who made it’” (A. W. Tozer and James Snyder, Going Higher With God in Prayer, p. 43).
I don’t know why, but I do know who. You can too.
You give the gifts of God’s truth, love, and forgiveness!
When you support Time of Grace through your gifts and prayers, you help bring God’s truth and love into the lives of people everywhere.
Thanks to you, friends like Abbey find peace in knowing they are loved by Jesus. She wrote to say . . .
“This ministry is such a blessing in my life. Through your services, resources, videos, blogs, books, and messages, I receive wisdom, correction, encouragement, and the love of Jesus. Thank you.
Your support and partnership are so appreciated and so needed. Thank you!
Navigate your pain and move forward with hope
When you’re hurting, it can be so hard to see your way forward. Suffering has a way of clouding your vision and leaving you feeling hopeless. How do you navigate the pain when you can’t control it or make sense of it?
That’s the question Pastor Mike Novotny answers in his new book, When Life Hurts: How to See Through Suffering—which we’re excited to send you as thanks for your gift.
This journey through the book of Job examines how pain affects your life and offers practical guidance on what to do when it does. Complete with study questions for each chapter, When Life Hurts helps you navigate suffering in a way that honors God and anchors you in his love.
So request your copy on the enclosed reply card when you give today to help encourage more people with God’s life-giving truth through Time of Grace.
Whatever pain you’re facing, this encouraging book can help lift you—or someone you know—out of the fog and lead you forward with hope.
Click here to get When Life Hurts
Real-life truth from God’s Word
Here’s what people are saying about C.L. Whiteside’s podcast, The Nonmicrowaved Truth …
“C.L is easy to listen to, but he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He has a Christ-focused message with a chill vibe.”
“Dude! Your podcast speaks to your students, but it so speaks to the older crowd. What an episode for me to use in thinking about what God wants next.”
“C.L.’s ability to make a point then provide examples demonstrating that point is exceptional.”
Click here to listen to The Nonmicrowaved Truth
Coming up on Time of Grace
Don’t miss the Time of Grace program in November. Instead of doing a series on just one topic, our lineup includes four weeks on four different topics: “How Can I Resist Temptation,” “The Miracle and Message of Music,” “Am I Worthy of Thanks?” and “How Do I Fix My Relationship With God?” This variety of powerful sermons offers truths for navigating your everyday life.
The first episode is available to watch on November 6th with new episodes released each Sunday in November.
Click here to watch the November programs
How to be a friend to the hurting
Do you know someone who’s in the midst of their own “why cry”? While there is no quick fix for visceral pain, believers across generations have found these ideas helpful:
- Just be
You don’t need to say anything profound. Just show up and let your presence be your best present.
- Say sorry
Don’t rush to find the silver lining of God’s blessing but first “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
- Share a story
If you’ve been in a similar situation, share how grace got you through it.
- Preach God’s sympathy
Remind your loved one that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He gets it.
- Preach God’s salvation
Remind your friend that this pain is temporary but that Jesus’ salvation lasts forever.
Hello from a Pastor Mike
Most of my best earthly blessings exist, it seems, because my mother praised God through her pain.
Here’s my basic story—My mom raised me in the church, which turned me into a Bible-reading teenager. One day, while reading the Bible, I decided to become a pastor. At pastor-training school, I met a young woman named Kim. After graduation, we got married. Soon after I started my ministry, God gave us two incredible daughters, Brooklyn and Maya.
But what you may not know is that the first domino in that line, being raised in the church, happened after the death of my younger brother. Tragically, when I was just a year old, my baby brother was born very ill and passed away weeks later.
Miraculously, however, my mom didn’t give up on God. Or faith. Or church. She praised God through the pain and kept me connected to the Lord, who would later call me into ministry. The more I think about her God-given perseverance and the affect it has had on my entire life, the more I am amazed, humbled, and grateful.
I don’t know if you have been through tragedy or just love people who have, but I do know that God is the answer. This is why your prayers and your support of Christ-centered ministries like Time of Grace mean so much. You help people, like my mom years ago, to remember who God is and why God is worth trusting, even in the pain.
So thank you. You are helping more and more people “know” what Paul wrote to the Romans: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (8:28).