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A Way Out

God provided a way out for so many at the Boston bombings. We read the stories of those that walked by the bombs just moments before or after they exploded. Their lives were spared. Yet three did not get a way out.

God provided a way out for so many at the Boston bombings. We read the stories of those that walked by the bombs just moments before or after they exploded. Their lives were spared. Yet three did not get a way out.

Or consider a young boy living in an inner city on the fast track to destruction when God provides a way out through a ministry that provides a mentor for him. His life is spared. Countless others race that fast track to destruction.

More personally, I think of the child in Kenya or the one in Ecuador that our family sponsors through World Vision. They have clean water, food, an education and a healthy community. Through World Vision God provides a way out. Still many more will die because of polluted water or famine.

We love when God provides a way out. We love when He shows up – especially when He shows up just in time. And He so often does. We remember Abraham heading up the mountain to sacrifice of his son Isaac in response to the command of God. As the knife is raised, God shows up at the last minute.  God provides a way out.

But what do we do with the moments when God does not provide a way out? The book of Judges records the story that parallels Abraham and Isaac and yet does not have the same happy ending. Jephthah, a warrior of God, makes a vow to God that he will offer up as a burnt offering whatever meets him from the doors of his house when he returns from a battle if God gives him victory. (Judges 11:31). He is victorious and when he returns home his only daughter is the first to come out the door of his home. The story does not say specifically that he offered her as a burnt offering, but study leads us to believe that he did.

Why did God not provide a way out? Why not for Jephthah’s daughter?

Why does God provide a way out when one friend is suffering from cancer but not for another? Why does God provide a way out of poverty for one child in a village and not another? Why does God provide a way out of slavery for one family but not for another?

I realize these are difficult questions, paradoxes for which we wish we had the answers. If we play this out we realize there is no human understanding for why God provides a way out for some and not others. It is not a matter of sinning more or less, having greater faith or smaller, some deserving life more than others. The gifts of God are just that … gifts.

So what do I do when God does not provide a way out? How do I respond?

As I meet with God in my questions He convicts me. He says, “Laura, you do not get to have all the answers. I call you to trust, not knowledge.”

I press in further and God cuts deeper. “Laura, death is not the end of all things. Resurrection is.”

“Death is not the end of the story. Resurrection is the rest of the story.”

These words have been repeating themselves in my mind and heart for almost a month now. Death is not the end of the story. Resurrection is the rest of the story.

If I am honest with myself my frustration when God does not provide a way out is because I believe that death is the end of the story. I read Jephthah’s daughter’s story and believe that her death is the end of her story. I do not know that. Just because that is all I see does not mean that is all there is.

I need a bigger picture of life and a deeper belief in the power of resurrection. I believe the gospel in part, but not in full. I see death and forget resurrection. I need Jesus again and again and again. I need to be reminded of his death and that His death was not the end of the story, His resurrection is the rest of the story.

How about you? How do you respond when God does not provide a way out? How do you respond when He does?

May you and I be reminded that death is not the end of the story, resurrection is.

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2 Comments

  • Kay Daigle

    Kay Daigle

    We have such limited perspectives

    Thank you, Laura, for your wonderfully written reminder that we only see with the eyes of this life while God sees forever. 

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