When You Question God

She sits unassuming. Drawn to her…not knowing why.  Next to her resides, the man with transparent eyes.  And I need to know them, need to hear their story.

Seemingly just an ordinary, average, every-day after dinner get-together, with some of our closest friends.  But soon I’d find, this meeting was nothing but ordinary.

This couple, tugging at my heart from the corner of the table; I want to reach to them, dissect their understanding, open them up to sharing what I am needing  today to feed my very soul…

Cause sometimes, we need something. We are hungry. But it can take time, and intentionality, to discover, what for…

I open Luke, days later, with the same kind of Jesus-craving I had at that table days earlier.

I find a Jesus.  Not just a man.  But God incarnate, one who heals and blesses…one who cares, sees, and loves everyone He touches.

Word marinating in me, while my neighborhood grieves the teenager in my child’s school district who went into a cafeteria exploding heads off of those he once labeled, “friends”. The Oso mudslide here, just last year. Pastors like Driscoll, getting rocks thrown at His children….in the name of purity and justice.

1369523524pyllaAnd something doesn’t align in us when a big, powerful, all consuming God has to somehow fit into our world of hate, bitterness, and fear.

The couple at the table that night finally uncover their story; heart attack, resuscitation, death, no heartbeat,  no pulse for twenty minutes.

And I know what happens to the brain when it dies, to a heart when it stops.  History tells us….3 minutes equals serious brain damage,  10 minutes many brain cells have died, 10 minutes it’s virtually impossible for a person’s brain to be alive.

Yet, she is breathing, talking, standing, as if nothing ever happened…laying hands on me and my husband, here, now, in a very real way…and any Thomas-like-doubt passes when people aren’t afraid, to share their testimony.

And yet, somewhere in our tainted belief systems we coddle our insecurities, get lost in hardships, find bizarre controllable-like comfort in making God like humans; small, incapable, carnal, useless? Why?

I take my eight-year-old to school.  Officers stroll outside. Parents faces pass by worried, fearful, trepidation ruling any belief that God is still in charge, God is still good.  And I can almost hear them, cars away, “Is a shooting going to happen at my child’s school today?”

And I imagine we began relying on human resources that moment bitterness prevailed, that moment God didn’t appear to swoop down to save us.  When the thorns of pain, and disappointment, and injustices took space in our hearts, instead of hope.  That moment when life didn’t go our way and so we choose to take fate into our own hands, dethrone God, while creating one with our own hands, one we can control….instead of letting Him reign in our hearts, trusting His goodness with servant-like faith. 

And yet, Luke stares at me from the page..

The blind healed, the lame walking, the leper touched, the feeding of the five-thousand.

I cannot put it down.  This God that walked the earth.  The one who healed hearts, saved lives, raised people from the dead. This God resurrected is one I want to serve…not the one who takes scales and calculates or one who punishes with grace-less judgement, love-less fear, care-less distance and hate.

And yes, the resurrected one, at the table that night with our friends flashes in front of my face. The one I touched and looked into her eyes.  The one I heard her story…her serving the same God I read about in the Bible…

But yet, I hear a world of Christians who have made God too human….Does He still heal today?  Does the Lord of heaven still reign like He did in the ancient of days?

Luke echos, satisfying all reasoning, as I devour that book to satisfy this thirsty soul….

The centurion rides out to meet Jesus. His bond servant sick. The centurion stopping, saying, “I am not worthy.  I too am a man of authority, and I know if I say something, my servants go do it.  Just speak the word and my servant boy will be healed.” (Luke 7:1-10)

And in acknowledging the authority of Jesus, he was healed that day.

For friends, isn’t a powerless god, no God at all?  Isn’t a Lord who can’t maintain His throne, fallible, weak, useless….just an idol, carnal imitations, destitute like the rest of us?

And yet, we get to choose who and what we will believe in?  Will we trust the God who lives, and reigns, and touches, and seeks relationship…or will we shrivel in fear at the sin in this world, will we hide, and retreat, and simply waist our life….because we’re content just, “getting through the day” instead of living as more than conquerors, reigning as ambassadors, made strong in our weakness…so that a world will have hope?

I wake this morning with thoughts of Luke, the couple at the table, that lady resurrected….police officers, people fearing another assassination…

And yet, I stand in hope, choosing today, the God of the Bible…not one of my own understanding, but one that offers us life everlasting, hope abundant, more than conqueror-like faith, the inheritance of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob. Yes, our God says that although we may be encamped in the territory of the evil one…we can have faith…we have a God who doesn’t just “hold up”…but is high and lifted up, high above all principalities, powers, and rulers in this dark world…

And as we trust in His authority, like the centurion, faith rising, people raising from dead to life…

We can look up.

Will you look to heaven instead of looking around, will you look up at the one who will come in Victory and full power through the clouds, will you join hearts with those in the Bible that didn’t settle for the weak, incapable, a dust-ridden God from the shelves of their scrolls,but a God of full power, a God full of love, a God of forgiveness, a God we can trust…

Jesus said to him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. You can find her writing, overlooking her property, advocating for the orphan domestically and internationally, & making memories with her husband of 24 yrs.
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  1. Prayers for you, your family and your community. My heart breaks for everyone touched by these events. What a scary world we live in, yet we are called to hold firm to our faith even when we want to barricade our children behind safe walls and not face this crazy world.

  2. We serve an awesome God who is still in the miracle working business today. We as Christians need to grab hold of our Bible, search out the scriptures and act like it is true. Thanks for the invitation to join with your Blog Party today.

    1. Robert – Welcome! So glad to have you here at UNITE! That’s right brother…the Bible isn’t some historical reading, a fairy-tale, or some ancient myth. The Bible is ALIVE, TRUE, ACTIVE….and the same God there which we read about of yesterday, is the still the same God we serve today!

  3. Powerful, straight from the heart writing as always Jen….in the midst of yet another terrible tragedy…our only HOPE is in Jesus….nothing and no-one else saves, protects, heals, restores, forgives….i pray your words will help others when it is not possible to make sense of such tragic events.

    Much love.


    1. Mary – Hope…yes, oh how the world needs hope! And oh so true…no one else, and nothing else saves! I think sometimes the older we get, the more life shows us that. Thank you for your mother heart and all your continual encouragement and wisdom!

  4. This living like we believe isn’t always easy, because those questions plague us too, for a while. Till we really begin to see with eyes blinded by faith. We begin to see that He is always good..always God.. always loving … always with us. That this submission of will to the One who has the authority to pen my eternity is more powerful than the days inscribed here as we rotate and spin through the living.
    You always inspire me to think deep, Jen.