by Matt Slick
Pain can make us doubt God. But we must keep our eyes on Him anyway. Of course, this is easy to say and difficult to do.
The following dialogue isn't much of an apologetic on anything except to say that any truth is good. Sometimes God can use us in ways we do not suspect.
As I reread this dialogue, I find myself wishing I had been more compassionate with the loss and pain of the 'other' fellow. Perhaps this is why God allows us to experience pain, so that we might more easily and lovingly sympathize with those who are going through it.
Sam: Perhaps you could help me out . . .
Sam: Is there anything in the scripture stating that every person has a match? I am not aware of it.
Sam: I didn't think so . . . after all . . . God told Jeremiah not to marry, and there is no evidence that any of the apostles married . . . am I wrong?
Matt: Paul was married as was Peter--if I remember correctly.
Sam: They were? What happened to their wives, and could you kindly refer me to scriptural evidence? or is it extra-scriptural that it is stated. Paul never refers to his wife in his letters, if I recall.
Matt: I don't have it off the top of my head.
Sam: Any ideas where to look, perhaps a specific book?
Matt: [I have the advantage of a Bible program and was able to find the verses so I posted them for him]. "My defense to those who examine me is this: 4Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?" (1 Cor. 9:3-5).
Sam: OK, thanks . . . I must have forgotten it, but I have verse 5 highlighted . . .
Sam: I am emailing a friend concerning how he lost the love of an unbelieving woman after he was converted, and then you popped on [to the chat program]. I figured that you could help me . . . many thanks.
Matt: How is he handling it?
Sam: It’s weird. This break-up was more than a year ago, and I haven't known him to be this distraught over anything this bad.
Matt: Love does that . . . Is he a Christian?
Sam: Yes . . . but he is going through doubts now.
Matt: About what?
Sam: Here's a quote from his email to me:
"Let this be a lesson to you all: I've lost the only person that I've ever loved with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind for a GOD whom I've never seen, never spoken too, and never touched . . . Why should I believe? I shouldn't, should I?"
Matt: It is a difficult thing to live in pain. God the father lost a greater love with the death of His son . . . The pain was infinite because God is infinite. Love makes us vulnerable. Faithfulness to God is a decision--no matter what. Sometimes God lets us go through trials for 2 reasons. 1) to show us God. 2) to show us ourselves This man has the opportunity to discover the loving sacrifice of God through his own experience. He also has the opportunity to discover where his faith is and WHAT it is in. If it is in God, truly, then pain won't drive him from Him.
Sam: I couldn't say it any better.
Matt: I'd be willing to call your friend and talk to him.
Sam: Thanks, but I am going to try to get our youth pastor to talk to him.
Matt: Okay . . .
Sam: I appreciate it.
Matt: But just so you know, five years ago, my son was born and died hours after birth. The pain was incredible . . . My wife and I wept a great deal . . .
Sam: I can't imagine . . .
Matt: But . . . we had our eyes on the Lord . . . and through it, we grew stronger in our faith . . .
Matt: Sometimes God allows our heart to feel the sorrow of loss, so that it will know the depths of hope and patience that only that loss can teach once it has healed. Then we can better serve others in their pain . . . True love is other centered . . . It seems as though he is becoming a little 'self' centered. That often happens when we are hurting. His love is turning to pain and anger . . . and he is trying to blame God . . .
Sam: I see what you mean.
Matt: The wrath spoken of in Rom. 1:18 is upon the heart. God will let people be given over to their sinful desires . . . Ask him: What is the desire of his heart . . . where is his focus? Is God allowing Him to have what He wants?
Sam: That’s interesting.
Matt: As far as his lost love goes . . . It is a sin for him (as a Christian) to marry an unbeliever . . . because it joins the holy with the unholy.
Sam: I got that.
Matt: Christians are the temple of God . . . they are not to join with unbelievers in marriage. God will honor him. But, he must keep his eyes upon the Lord. No matter what.
Sam: You are right. He needs to do that. But it is difficult when he is hurting so much.
Matt: Yes, it is. I can’t say I’ve done it perfectly myself, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Sam: Yep. You got that right . . .
Sometimes truth is better left unsaid. I think that perhaps I was not compassionate enough with my comments on Rom. 1:18. I think they were true, but that doesn't mean that saying it was the best thing to do. Sometimes people just need to be encouraged--not corrected. May I learn from my mistakes . . .