Dealing With the Unexplainable
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 2 Samuel 12:15-23
Sunday 7th July 2013
With the unexpected passing of our spiritual father, Dr Tayo Adeyemi, we as a church are confronted with the reality that at times, life will present situations regarding which we are abounding with questions to which there is no answer. ‘How do you deal with situations that you were not expecting and cannot explain?’ We are often expected always to have an answer and always to be able to explain life’s occurrences, however it is the truth that sometimes, we are left with nothing but questions and there is not an answer in sight. At some point in our lives, we each will have to deal with the unexpected and the unexplained; the situations for which we have no answers.
1 Chronicles 12:32 makes reference to the sons of Issachar who had ‘understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do’. It is similarly important for us to know how to respond, as opposed to how to react, to the season that we find ourselves in. Life throws the unexpected our way. It is not a straight road but is filled with challenges, mountains, valleys and often hostile terrain. It is important that in the current situation with which we are faced, that we do not give the enemy the opportunity to take advantage of us and that we obtain our instruction, guidance and leading only from the word of God.
I would like to look at the life of David, particularly the account in 2 Samuel 12. Here, we are told that David’s child with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah had become sick and that in response to this, David had fasted and prayed to God, supplicating that the child’s life be spared. After 7 days of prayer and fasting however the child died. This was David whom had a relationship of unparalleled intimacy with God; the man described as a man after God’s own heart. How could it be that his prayers had gone unanswered and his fasting apparently unnoticed? I am sure that similar questions have crossed our minds in the last week whether or not they have been articulated or spoken silently.
We are told that when David realised that the child was dead, he arose from the ground, changed his clothes and he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped and then went home and ate. His reaction to the death of the child came as a surprise to those around him; they expected him to continue to mourn and in fact become angry and disenchanted with God and therefore his response did not fit into the theology of those whom surrounded David at that time. Likewise, our response is unlikely to fit into the theology of many onlookers today. David’s explanation in verse 22 was “While the child was alive, I fasted and I wept for I said ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” We do not therefore mourn and weep as those with no hope. We look forward to the hope that one day, we will be joined once more with our beloved man of God, Pastor Tayo and there will be no separation ever again.
In 2 Kings 13: 14 we are told ‘Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die.’ Again, this represents something of a mystery to which there was little by way of answer; Elisha fell sick with an illness that would eventually kill him. How could that be? How can he have fallen sick? This was Elisha whom had carried out notable miracles and was so anointed that even his bones brought resurrection and healing. We have no answers as to why our Pastor fell sick; we have no answers as to why healing did not manifest in accordance with our prayers and expectation; we have no answers as to why he was taken in the prime of life; we have no answers as to why God did not just let him go home rather than permit him to suffer in the way that he did. We expected to hear more from him; indeed, the entire world expected and desired to hear more from him.
There are issues of life that are difficult to explain; this is the reality with which we are confronted today. Life is full of the unexplained and the truth is that we do not have all the answers. Indeed, I do not have any answers; I have more questions than answers; however, I do not need to have all the answers. I can look to the word of God for leading and instruction at times like this. I see that David, a man after God’s own heart, was also confronted with the unexplained. He expected God to show mercy and save his child and yet the child died, notwithstanding his prayer and fasting. Despite our intense and sustained intercession, corporate prayer, as well as the prayers of notable men of God whom God has used to bring healing such as Kenneth Copeland, Pastor Creflo Dollar, Rev’d EA Adeboye, Reinhard Bonke and Bishop Francis Wale Oke, to name but a few, God decided to take him home. We have no answers as to why but can determine to look into the perfect law of liberty.
Our inability to provide answers does not invalidate the goodness of God. God is not defined by our situation or our experience; He is God, irrespective. God is good; period. God is faithful; period.
So, what do you do when it appears that heaven has ignored you? As stated, Elisha served God with all of his being and for all of his life he walked in the will of God. And yet he died of this sickness. Paul, whom preached the gospel far and wide and wrote a significant proportion of the New Testament, was beheaded. Stephen was stoned to death. 1 Corinthians 13: 9 holds a clue: it says ‘For we know in part and we prophesy in part.’ We do not know it all; we only ever have a proportion of the truth. A quest to try and find answers to all life’s questions only leads to frustration.
Deuteronomy 29: 29 says, ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.’ To seek to discover all the secrets of God is to challenge His sovereignty. This is the situation in which Job found himself in Job 38 when after a lengthy discourse regarding the sickness that he faced and what he perceived as God’s apparent injustice, God answered out of the whirlwind saying “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” God then presented to Job a total of 70 questions which emphasised His sovereignty. Job was invited to explain where he was when God laid the foundations of the earth, to define where light comes from and explain where the storehouses of snow and hail were kept all of which brought him to the rapid realisation that he had no business questioning God. Job’s response was one of repentance, concluding ‘I know that you can do everything and that no purpose of Yours can be withhold from You…I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.’ Our God is unquestionable; He is sovereign. He had His reasons.
The key therefore is not so much ‘why?’ but ‘what do we do now?’ David’s response came as a surprise to those who surrounded him. After the child died, he rose up from the ground and worshipped. At times such as this, people often give up on God.
However, we must arise. This is not our end. Yes, we grieve the loss of our spiritual father. I have cried a thousand times for the loss of a father, mentor, advisor, leader and friend. But we are not those who mourn without hope. David refused to allow the loss of his child to put a halt to his future. We feel pain but when all is said and done, we must arise. We will arise; we will Go Forward!
It is not how long but how well we live that matters. Pastor Tayo lived a good life; he fought the good fight and finished well. I can see that at 2.00pm on 30th June 2013 as he closed his eyes and joined the cloud of witnesses, the hosts of heavens cheered uncontrollably as he came home. “Well done!” they would have cried as legions of angels lined up to congratulate him with rapturous applause. “You have served with all your heart, you have plundered the gates of hell and advanced the kingdom! You started a fire wherever you went. You have touched millions and brought healing and encouragement to the multitudes across the globe! You were satin and steel; strong yet gentle. You were a teacher, a guide and a prophet. You were a seven-star general who inspired others to do better and brought reassurance. To God you said “I will”; to people you said “You can” and to yourself you said, “I must”. You epitomised love, joy, humility kindness and friendship! Dr Adetayo, Adetokunbo, Michael Adeyemi, we salute you! Welcome home you hero of the faith!”
Pastor Tayo ran faster and further than his peers. He did this to put us at an advantage and being the good father that he was, he ensured that we would not start where he started. We have been left a great work to do and a great race to run. We have a responsibility to run the race that he started so that in turn, we can hand over the baton to the next generation. Everything that he started, we will accomplish. Even though we were shocked at his passing, he had prepared us and equipped us to Go Forward. For 18 months he did not preach but sat, like the committed coach and mentor that he was, and observed us at every stage of the way providing correction and support: how we dealt with the Easter Outreach campaign, how we dealt with Maximise Life, how we dealt with the Christmas Hamper Campaign and on the 30th day of Deeper and Higher, having satisfied himself that he had equipped us with all that we needed to fulfil the vision and that we could Go Forward, he handed the baton on to us.
Again, we can obtain much by way of instruction from the word of God: in Genesis 11 we understand that Terah, the father of Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans and suffered the loss of his son, Haran. A painful experience no doubt, however Terah never moved on from this experience and we are told, he dwelled in a place called Haran. His loss had overwhelmed him and he dwelled in the place of his pain and died there and following his death, his son Abraham dwelled there. It was only with the intervention of God telling Abraham to get out of his country and move away from his family that enabled him to be brought to place of promise, the land he was destined to inherit.
New Wine Church, we will not end our days in ‘Haran’. We will journey on from the place of pain and sorrow to the place that the Lord will show us. God is taking us somewhere. Death is not our end. We will Go Forward!
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