Right before Christmas of 2022, two of our family members passed away. It put the holiday season in a strange and dimmed light.
As I contemplated the far-reaching effects of what had happened, I found enormous solace in the reminder that God is still sovereign, still above it all. And yet I found myself asking a funny question.
“Why did God put people on Earth? Why didn’t He bring time to an end long ago?”
There may be many chapters in our lives in which pain is the narrator. Loss makes for some empty pages. We push on because we know the book isn’t over. Better chapters are to come.
Though I knew this and trusted it, I still wondered: Why has God let human history (past, present, and future) run its course? Our free will invited evil into God’s perfect paradise, yes, but why didn’t He clean the slate and start over?
Finally, the answer came to me, in the form of another question.
“Why does an author write a book?”
Why does an author write hard things? Why does he or she let tragic things happen to the characters we love so much?
And the answer is simple.
Because, somehow, those things are worth it.
Somewhere in the magical pages of that book, the pain, the tears, and the heartache become worth something.
Think about Lord of the Rings. Frodo lost himself, and he asked the question:
Sam answered in words of wisdom.
“A new day will come,” he said. “And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer.”
God sees the ending of our story. He knows the chapters in which we’ll struggle. But He is weaving hope in the subtext.
Pain is not a destination. Above the dark clouds, no matter how deep, the sun is shining.
Perhaps that is why God, as the first and ultimate Author, created writers. Between the Beginning and Eternity, the written word, in fiction and non-fiction, is there to spur us on to finish the race and finish well. Because we DO have something to hold on to.