Over the summer we activated the MAPster Prayer Alert (texting prayer requests) on two different occasions. The first was for a three-year-old boy who was found unconscious floating in a lake. After many tense hours of prayer and waiting, the little boy revived and is now making a full recovery.

The second prayer alert went out for a six-year-old who collapsed suddenly. He was rushed to the hospital and it was determined that he had contracted spinal meningitis. For over a week, MAPsters all across the country pleaded with God to save his life. He died on August 14.

Why did one child live and the other die? Why did God answer one of our prayers with “yes” and the other with “no”? Why did either one of these boys have to go through such an awful experience? Why?

Did you know it is okay to question God? Job, Jacob, Moses, David, Paul and Jesus did it. Our questions do not make God any less God or us any less His children. Feel free to pour out your heart. It’s okay to talk to Him straight up. Be respectful, but remember, He is your Father and, like any good father, He expects questions.

Asking God our frustrating questions is not wrong, but presuming that we are on His level and that we can challenge His wisdom, that is wrong. I have often heard it explained this way – God sees the complete picture while we see only a very narrow sliver of time. Because He can view the past, present and future all at the same time, His perspective often causes Him to act in ways our limited perspective cannot understand. Feel free to ask questions, but honor His ability to see so much more than us.
I would like to add another dimension to the explanation above – the dimension of depth. Consider this illustration. Face the road in front of your house. Close one eye and watch the vehicles as they travel toward each other. Without the use of both eyes, depth perception is limited. This limitation makes it appear as if the vehicles are traveling toward a collision when in fact they are not even traveling in the same lane of traffic.

When God views our life, He not only sees the complete picture (past, present and future), He also sees the various lanes in which we are traveling. Not all lanes are destined for collision. How many times have you been convinced that circumstances could not possibly lead to something good, yet in the end they do? Our limited depth perception is only overcome by trusting God and allowing Him to see for us.

But trusting God is not always easy. When God revives a drowned child our faith comes quickly. But when He refuses to heal a six-year-old of spinal meningitis, keeping our faith is almost like a wrestling match with God. How can anyone win that match?

Recently, I heard a speaker tell how we can win a wrestling match against almost anyone as long as we remember one very important move – don’t let go! No matter how good the opponent might be, if we hold on long enough he will tire of our persistence and eventually will concede the contest.

To support his conclusion, the speaker then reminded us of the story in Genesis 32:24-28. In that passage Jacob wrestled with God. The contest lasted for an entire night and near daybreak God actually conceded the match. Jacob won not because he was stronger, more talented or even because he fully understood God’s purpose for wrestling with him. Jacob won simply because he would not let go.

I have questions and you do too. But do any of our questions change the fact that God is God? We can be angry with Him. We can blame Him for our sorrow. We can punish Him by turning our backs and walking away. But none of those things change the reality of who He is. The only way to win a wrestling match with God is to stubbornly hang on to Him.

Some years ago I wrote the following line while addressing a similar crisis of faith.

“Only by faith in a Higher Power
Can hope be found in the darkest hour.”

Some have heard the news about these boys and turned to God. Others have heard the news and turned from Him. What will you do?

Wrestle with God. Ask Him your deepest, most personal questions. Struggle with Him. Grab hold of Him and refuse to let go. Sometimes God makes no sense. But remember this, He IS your Father and the tighter you squeeze the more you will discover that He too is holding on to you.

[Sonny Childs is director of MAP — “Missionaries to America.” This is an outstanding ministry that trains youth and then guides them in helping local congregations reach out into their communities.]