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We must not diminish
Missy Martens
by Missy Martens
July 9, 2024

My heart is heavy. It is grieving for dear friends of mine who have been through an unfathomable tragedy. For someone who normally leans toward the verbose, I have no words. So where do we turn when our words fail, when our actions fall short, when a lasagna for the freezer won’t fix it and won’t even come close? We can only turn to God’s words. When we want to cry out and shake our fists at him for what he just allowed to happen to good and faithful servants, he’s the one to whom we lift up those very hands in prayer and praise. When we want to kick and scream and run away from God, he’s the place we need to run toward and fall on our knees before. Through tears, I opened my Bible this morning and turned to the Psalms. And I read these words:

My soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.” (Psalm 62:1,2,8,11,12).

Strong. Loving.

But, oh, the questions. If he is strong and mighty, then why didn’t he …

If he is loving, then how can he …

And I don’t know the answers. I don’t know why some are healed and others are not. Why some experience lots of earthly blessings and others don’t. Why some are taken to be with him early and some are left behind to mourn. We can’t pretend to know, and we can’t diminish the pain and suffering we feel in this broken world. But we also dare not diminish God’s power and love.

Diminish, verb: to make small, to make something (or someone) seem less impressive or valuable.

The pain we feel this side of heaven is very real. When we are being broken into so many tiny pieces, when we feel small and unimportant and not seen, it doesn’t help to play pretend. Denying our grief or anger doesn’t make it go away. In the same way, telling someone who is suffering that “God works everything for our good” might not make them feel better, not right away and maybe not ever. We cannot diminish the feeling that we know we do not, ultimately, belong here. That this isn’t how it was supposed to be. That God didn’t mess up in creating this world, but that we did; we messed up his perfect creation, and now we live in a fallen place, full of grief and pain and ultimately death. We can lean into sufferings and troubles because this world is only this world. We yearn for a new world, and our sufferings should not be diminished but used. Because all we can do is turn to God. Power belongs to you, God.

Stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies hushed under the south wind, can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze? Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean. Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart? (Job 37:14-18, 21-24)

Unwavering power. Almighty strength. Everlasting wisdom. And the kicker is this: He does not use his power to oppress his people, to hurt us or cause us pain. We know this. We have to fall on this, hard. He has the power to create and rule a new heaven and a new earth, and he has the power to bring us there. The power to save. Because with you, Lord, is unfailing love.

We must not diminish God’s loving nature. Oh, our sinful natures sometimes question it, but again, we fall on God’s Word and the countless examples we have of our loving Savior. King David had to remind himself of that in Psalm 62, and we have even more of the Scriptures to show us, over and over again, that we have a loving God. The same God who created the world sent his own Son into this fallen world to live among the fallen and to die for them. Jesus walked this earth; he knew grief and sorrow; felt the pain and agony of loss, of heartbreak, of shame and humiliation, and ultimately of separation from his Father in heaven. The same Jesus who wept at Lazarus’ tomb was able to raise him from the dead—with his power, yes, but because of his love for his people. And he promises to raise us as well.

I don’t always know what to do or what to say, but I know who God is. My words and actions fall short, but God never does. I’m leaning into him, into his power and his love. I’m trusting in his good and perfect plan, his timing, his promises. Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.”