Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Why, God? Why?

 

“Today we got a letter from her husband, In the early morning hours last week, she left to be with the Lord. But, he said, she had worked up until midnight that same night, typing with that one finger to the glory of God.” — from the book, Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom

I’d be lying if I said I was happy with life at the moment. I feel like I’ve been unexpectedly and unceremoniously shoved from one chapter of my life into another. It’s a change I wasn’t ready to make. In the previous chapter, I was a happy stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who sometimes did freelance transcription work to bring in a little bit of extra money. In this chapter, I’m still a homeschooling mom but now I’m a part-time cashier as well. Granted, this new chapter isn’t all bad. I like the store and my fellow employees. Even the customers have been nice so far. But it’s a change, and change is difficult for me. I don’t like it.

As I’m dealing with this change and looking around at others who are dealing with change, I can’t help but wonder: Where is God is all of this? Where is He in all this COVID hysteria and political unrest? Where is He in all this financial and emotional devastation? Why is He letting all of this happen? And as I ponder these frustrating questions, a story comes to mind – a story I read several years ago, told by Corrie ten Boom, a woman who had plenty more reasons for questioning God than I do.

Corrie grew up in Amsterdam. She and her family were arrested during WWII for hiding Jews, and Corrie and her sister were sent to a concentration camp in Germany. (I’ve written about the family before: hereherehere, and here.) After she was released from the camp, Corrie spent the rest of her life traveling around the world, sharing the Gospel with people.

In one of the books she wrote about her travels, Corrie tells about meeting secretly one night with a woman in Russia. I’ll let Corrie tell the story from here:

The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of multiple sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.

I walked across the room and kissed her wrinkled cheek. She tried to look up but the muscles in her neck were atrophied so she could only roll her eyes upward and smile. She raised her right hand, slowly, in jerks. It was the only part of her body she could control and with her gnarled and deformed knuckles she caressed my face. I reached over and kissed the index finger of that hand, for it was with this one finger that she had so long glorified God.

What did the woman do with that finger? She typed. She translated portions of the Bible and Christian books by people like Corrie, Billy Graham, and Watchman Nee, into “Russian, Latvian, and the language of her people”. She translated the works and then typed them up to be distributed to other Christians. And as she typed, she prayed for the authors. Corrie goes on to say:

I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. “Oh, Lord, why don’t You heal her?” I cried inwardly.

Her husband, sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her. They leave us alone, and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police.”

************************

Corrie: Why don’t you heal this woman, God? God: Because I’m using her the way she is.

Me: Why are you letting all of this happen, God? God: Because I’m using it for my purposes.

What are those purposes? I don’t know. Sometimes, I think I see glimpses of them here and there; other times, I have no idea at all what they may be. But visible or not, they’re there. I trust that they’re there.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Weeping: What are those purposes?

    Spiritual growth. It is for the most spiritual growth for the most people. Opportunities for growth abound around us, but growth is a form of change. As we fight change, so we fight growth, both for ourselves and those around us. Does the caterpillar fight becoming a butterfly? Yet, we fight it all through our lives.


    This is the Quote of the Day. If you would like to share a quotation to educate, honor another, celebrate yourself, or just so you can rant, our sign-up sheet for November is here.

    Or, if you’re looking to write something a bit more creative, you might try our Group Writing Project this month: It was a dark and stormy night…

    • #1
    • October 29, 2020, at 11:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Mim526 Member

    Bless you, @weeping, in this new phase of your life and thanks for the reminder of a remarkable woman. When very young, I got to hear Corrie ten Boom speak once…was amazing experience.

    I got a feeling you’re gonna be a pretty good cashier yourself :-) 

    • #2
    • October 30, 2020, at 3:21 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I don’t think G-d makes things happen or stops them from happening, but since I don’t know the mind of G-d, I can’t be sure. I tend to agree with @arahant, that we can find ways to grow from these difficulties. I’m trying to make sure that I’m not taking my frustration out on others. When I interact with others, I try to be extra kind, even if I don’t feel like it; the reward is that I will often get a smile in return.

    People in China let this virus loose. Leaders have had to cope with it, showing ineptness and compassion and wisdom. We can do our own part by drawing on our relationship with G-d to give us what we need. In my case, it’s patience.

    • #3
    • October 30, 2020, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    I got chills reading this story.

    I feel so very lost in this current pandemic situation.

    Where indeed is God in all of this?

    At times, I think of how mad I am this happened. In Dec and Jan, I had just found a way to reach the public to support my writing, and I was suddenly making one thousand dollars every 20 days. Then the pandemic hit. (My spouse’s business is actually booming, but my lifelong hope to be earning my own income through my own writing is once again put on the back burner.)

    I fear the coming vaccine program, as in 1976 I was injured by the swine flu vaccine. I will not endure another vaccine in my body, especially not for an illness whose fatality rate is around 0.05% for people under the age of 70. Yet there seems no where any of us who desire to escape this fate can go.

    Where is God in all this?

    For the first time since the March 13th declaration of a “National Emergency” I felt I had some understanding of the situation. (From a spiritual standpoint, which is what I had been seeking.) For that I thank you.

    • #4
    • October 30, 2020, at 12:52 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. Mim526 Member

    Ran across a statement by a well regarded writer today that brought to mind our expressed fear toward things we’re facing now.

    The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.

    ― Oswald Chambers

    Whatever our relationship with or belief toward the Divine, we’re human so how is this possible? Then I thought of this:

    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

    We fight for our families, our friends, our Creator-endowed freedoms knowing whatever happens we are not alone…the real Big Guy promised to lend us His strength :-)

    • #5
    • October 30, 2020, at 9:07 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Stad Coolidge

    It’s not unusual to question God when things happen. It’s like that old adage, “God hears all prayers. He just doesn’t always answer them.” If God answered all prayers, high schoolers would ace every math test, and I’d win the lottery every week . . .

    • #6
    • October 31, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    It’s not unusual to question God when things happen. It’s like that old adage, “God hears all prayers. He just doesn’t always answer them.” If God answered all prayers, high schoolers would ace every math test, and I’d win the lottery every week . . .

    Oh, he answered. Just sometimes the answer is, “No.” That’s still better than, “Don’t make me come down there!”

    • #7
    • October 31, 2020, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Stad Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    It’s not unusual to question God when things happen. It’s like that old adage, “God hears all prayers. He just doesn’t always answer them.” If God answered all prayers, high schoolers would ace every math test, and I’d win the lottery every week . . .

    Oh, he answered. Just sometimes the answer is, “No.” That’s still better than, “Don’t make me come down there!”

    I vaguely remember a joke that went something like this (think it was from SNL):

    A man asks God, “What’s the biggest thing you know is real but I wouldn’t believe it?”

    God replies, “I can’t tell you because you would never believe it, even coming from me.”

    The man says, “How about the next biggest thing?”

    God says, “Okay. Professional wrestling is real.”

    The man bursts into laughter and says, “No way! That cannot possibly be true!”

    God says, “Told ya.”

    • #8
    • October 31, 2020, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Amelia Peabody Coolidge

    I read Tramp for the Lord soon after I had been diagnosed with cancer. Talk about a change I wasn’t ready for. What a blessing that book was, and what a blessing Corrie was to so many people. I have so many of the same emotions you outline above. I’m mostly staying at home these days because my immune system is compromised, and the decrease in human connection takes a toll. It seems like we have less and less God in our country these days, and more and more division and hatred. It’s hard to watch. So I’ve basically stopped watching the news, and that helps. 

    When I get overwhelmed, I love Matthew 11. “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    My soul needs rest! I hope yours finds rest too. 

    • #9
    • October 31, 2020, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Spiritual growth. It is for the most spiritual growth for the most people. Opportunities for growth abound around us, but growth is a form of change. As we fight change, so we fight growth, both for ourselves and those around us. Does the caterpillar fight becoming a butterfly? Yet, we fight it all through our lives.

    I was thinking more along the line of specifics when I was writing, but I agree with your generality. I think spiritual growth is definitely something God wants from/for us – something that can often only come through difficulties. Drats.

    • #10
    • October 31, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    Bless you, @weeping, in this new phase of your life and thanks for the reminder of a remarkable woman. When very young, I got to hear Corrie ten Boom speak once…was amazing experience.

    I got a feeling you’re gonna be a pretty good cashier yourself :-)

    Thanks, Mim. I appreciate it. Corrie’s story and stories have always been inspirations for me. For some reason this story got stuck in my head. Maybe because it’s a clear reminder that our lives aren’t always about us. As for being a good cashier, I hope so. I’m going to give it my best shot at least. :)

    • #11
    • October 31, 2020, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I don’t think G-d makes things happen or stops them from happening, but since I don’t know the mind of G-d, I can’t be sure. I tend to agree with @arahant, that we can find ways to grow from these difficulties. I’m trying to make sure that I’m not taking my frustration out on others. When I interact with others, I try to be extra kind, even if I don’t feel like it; the reward is that I will often get a smile in return.

    People in China let this virus loose. Leaders have had to cope with it, showing ineptness and compassion and wisdom. We can do our own part by drawing on our relationship with G-d to give us what we need. In my case, it’s patience.

    I don’t know for certain whether or not He does either. The Christian denomination I grew up in teaches that He does, but I’m rather agnostic on that point. I firmly believe He can if He wants, but I don’t know for a fact that He does. Maybe He does some planning and guiding of events, or maybe He just lets things float along and helps us through whatever comes our way. I guess what’s important to me is that He’s there, loving us and caring for us. We’re not going through all of this alone.

    • #12
    • October 31, 2020, at 3:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):

    I got chills reading this story.

    I feel so very lost in this current pandemic situation.

    Where indeed is God in all of this?

    At times, I think of how mad I am this happened. In Dec and Jan, I had just found a way to reach the public to support my writing, and I was suddenly making one thousand dollars every 20 days. Then the pandemic hit. (My spouse’s business is actually booming, but my lifelong hope to be earning my own income through my own writing is once again put on the back burner.)

    I fear the coming vaccine program, as in 1976 I was injured by the swine flu vaccine. I will not endure another vaccine in my body, especially not for an illness whose fatality rate is around 0.05% for people under the age of 70. Yet there seems no where any of us who desire to escape this fate can go.

    Where is God in all this?

    For the first time since the March 13th declaration of a “National Emergency” I felt I had some understanding of the situation. (From a spiritual standpoint, which is what I had been seeking.) For that I thank you.

    I can relate, CarolJoy. With my husband still looking for a job (the “shove” that sent me into the next chapter), I’ve felt lost and confused too – still do at times, if I’m being honest. I’m glad the woman’s story was able to help you a bit. It clarified things a bit for me too.

    • #13
    • October 31, 2020, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    Stad (View Comment):

    It’s not unusual to question God when things happen. It’s like that old adage, “God hears all prayers. He just doesn’t always answer them.” If God answered all prayers, high schoolers would ace every math test, and I’d win the lottery every week . . .

    I agree with Arahant. He answers all of them. It’s just that sometimes His answer is “No” or “Not right now”. Those answers certainly feel like He’s not giving us an answer, though, since we tend to view him as a genie or a gumball machine. (Well, I have to fight that tendency, anyway.)

    • #14
    • October 31, 2020, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Weeping Member
    Weeping

    Amelia Peabody (View Comment):

    I read Tramp for the Lord soon after I had been diagnosed with cancer. Talk about a change I wasn’t ready for. What a blessing that book was, and what a blessing Corrie was to so many people. I have so many of the same emotions you outline above. I’m mostly staying at home these days because my immune system is compromised, and the decrease in human connection takes a toll. It seems like we have less and less God in our country these days, and more and more division and hatred. It’s hard to watch. So I’ve basically stopped watching the news, and that helps.

    When I get overwhelmed, I love Matthew 11. “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    My soul needs rest! I hope yours finds rest too.

    Thanks, Amelia. I appreciate it. I’m sure I’ll adjust eventually. I’m just still in that transitional stage at the moment – rarely a fun place to be for me. My prayers are with you too as you deal with everything as well. May 2021 be an easier year for all of us.

    Corrie wrote several books during that last period of her life. I listed some of them in this post I wrote about her a couple of years ago. Here’s a list of some others she either wrote or that were written about her, in case you’d like to read more about/from her. She really was an amazing woman.

     

    • #15
    • October 31, 2020, at 3:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    Weeping (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Spiritual growth. It is for the most spiritual growth for the most people. Opportunities for growth abound around us, but growth is a form of change. As we fight change, so we fight growth, both for ourselves and those around us. Does the caterpillar fight becoming a butterfly? Yet, we fight it all through our lives.

    I was thinking more along the line of specifics when I was writing, but I agree with your generality. I think spiritual growth is definitely something God wants from/for us – something that can often only come through difficulties. Drats.

    The problem with specifics is that they are very different for each person. If you want to know, there is only one being who can tell you. But that takes listening for God’s answers. Some folks think “Pray unceasingly” means to keep nattering away at God and not give God a chance to get a word in edgewise. Prayer ought to have at least three components: giving thanks, asking that our needs be fulfilled (and recognizing that they are fulfilled), and listening. Many skip that last step, figuring a prayer is shouting up at the sky, rather than a conversation with the Most High.

    • #16
    • October 31, 2020, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Arahant Member

    Weeping (View Comment):
    I don’t know for certain whether or not He does either. The Christian denomination I grew up in teaches that He does, but I’m rather agnostic on that point. I firmly believe He can if He wants, but I don’t know for a fact that He does. Maybe He does some planning and guiding of events, or maybe He just lets things float along and helps us through whatever comes our way. I guess what’s important to me is that He’s there, loving us and caring for us. We’re not going through all of this alone.

    And He works through us. We are here to act as channels of God’s good to others, however that good might be passed: ideas, smiles, hugs, wearing a silly mask that brings a smile when we have to wear one.

    • #17
    • October 31, 2020, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):
    wearing a silly mask that brings a smile when we have to wear one.

    No one seems to laugh at mine/ours, @arahant. What’s that about? 

    • #18
    • October 31, 2020, at 5:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    wearing a silly mask that brings a smile when we have to wear one.

    No one seems to laugh at mine/ours, @arahant. What’s that about?

    I don’t know. I get all sorts of reactions. If you mean “The Scream” specifically, I have definitely gotten smiles, laughs, and comments along the lines of, “That is just perfect for this pandemic!”

    • #19
    • October 31, 2020, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like