|“I keep wanting You to be fair... I want certain answers to these prayers but that’s not what You said” – Sara Groves, “What I Thought I Wanted”
'Broken And Faithful'
By Sara Groves
As told to Jennifer E. Jones
I began building a case against God shortly after my first son was born. Everything seemed unfair. The world felt very chaotic. I had a friend who lost a baby, and a very young family member died tragically, just as he was getting his life together. It was a hard series of events.
I have nothing to compare to Job but we all wonder why bad things happen to good people. I was trying to swallow the "sovereignty pill" and was having a hard time choking it down.
At the same time, I was exhausted so I didn’t have the reserves to fight the good fight.
I never rebelled. I served the Lord faithfully all my life. I have great parents who taught me about worldview and C.S. Lewis. I didn’t have rebellion until my late 20s, early 30s, and that’s gonna look a lot different than 16-year-old's. But it’s still a rebellious heart.
I was really tired. I was done fighting. I had a lot of ideas about guilt, and my conscience never stopped. It was always hammering me -- how I could do this or that better. I remember telling a friend, "I locked my conscience in the attic and duck-taped her mouth." I had a year to two years where I didn’t care.
There were things that I knew were true. I would say, “I know You’re God. I know I’m a fool but I just don’t understand.”
God said, “Finally, we’re talking. This is a real conversation.”
I went to the Bible to find comfort, and I found a lot of good men, who had committed their lives to the Lord, getting beat up. I used them as witnesses in my case.
I started cross-examining Job. You don’t just give a man a second family and say that’s okay. He lost his kids, and that hit a tender point with me. I was worried about us on the road. I told someone, “If something happens to Kirby [my son], I don’t think my faith would survive that.” A good friend replied, “If you can create a scenario where your faith can’t survive, then it’s not surviving now.”
My faith had been exposed, and I really didn’t believe God. He’s not working these things out for my good. It sounds too trite. How does that deal with these people and their pain?
I said to the Lord, “You have to help me believe in You because I don’t have it in me to do it.”
The Lord took me back to these men, and He cross-examined my witnesses. I found that I can tell Job all I want, “Curse God and die.” But he still stands up in the middle of this trial and says, “I know my redeemer lives.”
So I asked God what did Job know to say this in the middle of these trials? What did David know to say, “Even though wicked men prosper all around me, who have I in heaven but You? You are the strength of my life and my portion forever. It is good to serve God”?
And then there’s Paul, who’s in chains, saying everything gained -- everything that appears to be good in life is garbage compared to knowing Him. It was like he told me, “Sara, I met the Man on the road to Damascus, and I want to know Him again. I want to know Him in His suffering. This is where I grow. This is where my life means something in this intersection of joy and pain.”
I had to take them at their word because I can’t change their testimony. And by the end of that year, it was my testimony as well. I was like David. “The wicked look pretty happy to me. Surely I’m keeping my hands pure in vain. But if I’d said those things out loud I would have betrayed Your children because I was wrong. Following You, doing the right thing, pursuing purity -- it’s hard to understand why. But Your principles for life are good, and being with You is good.”
At the end of the day, God won the case, and I left with a great sense of urgency. All these things I thought I wanted -- security, safety for my family, comfort -- they’re all good things but they’re not the Kingdom. They’re not the whole story that God is telling.
I don’t want my kids to see me here full of bitterness and cynicism. I want them to see me passionate about the Gospel even if that’s dangerous. I want them to see me walking in faith. I want to serve Him, saying, “I’ve swallowed the sovereignty pill, and You are sovereign.”
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