You all know the old Sunday School joke: “If you don’t know the answer, say Jesus and you will probably be right.” I have been thinking of a new spin on that . . .
Because there are an awful lot of times when I, as a pastor, do not know the answer to a question posed to me. This is when I get asked “Why?” Why did this happen? Why is this happening to me? Why did God do that? I have no answer to those questions. God has not revealed it to us. So I think from now on I’m going to have a stock answer. Why? Because God is merciful.
I’m not sure what started me down that road, but this is growing on me. In all the “why times” in my life and the life of my parishioners, the beauty of this answer is that it focuses us not on ourselves (which will only drive us to despair) but on God and what good He is working. Thus the Law is merciful because it drives me to the Gospel. Suffering is merciful as it causes me to despair of myself and take refuge in Christ alone. Whatever is going on in my life, how is my God and Saviour being merciful to me, a poor, miserable sinner, through it? We still may not know the answer, but at least we’d be looking in the right place.