This week, I intended to dispel another myth about suffering. I have rewritten such a Blog numerous times, but something else is on my heart. I know so many people who are suffering terrible illnesses or going through very difficult times in their lives right now. I want to encourage them. Pain, in all its forms, is so debilitating. It changes our entire outlook on life and slowly erodes away who we are. How do we endure under such pain? To avoid this Blog being the length of a book, I want to focus on two aspects. One, understanding the character of God and two, understanding our perspective. Again, I emphasize that my audience is intended for those who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, there is no hope.
I am a logical, black/white person. I like to break things down to their simplest, most straightforward elements. In relation to God’s character and suffering, it is very simple--either God is Who He says He is, or He isn’t. God can’t be good AND harm His children. God can’t be faithful yet neglect us or forget to care for us. God can’t be Sovereign yet circumstances spiral out of His control. The Bible very clearly reveals God’s character to us. He is loving, compassionate, merciful, kind, gracious, faithful and reliable. He is GOOD. When one is suffering, a very logical question is “If God is so good and merciful, then why am I suffering so terribly?” That is a valid question. Which leads me to my second point.
We have a limited, temporary, finite perspective. We can’t even begin to understand the perplex ways of God. There is no comparison for how our minds comprehend and how God thinks and operates. He is God; we are not! I intentionally use the words “temporary” and “finite” (limited). First, our life here is temporary. This is not how we will live for eternity. We currently live in a broken, fallen, corrupt world. We hurt. We suffer loss. We see death all around us in many forms. Our perfect, eternal home still awaits us. Whatever pain you are suffering right now is temporary. I don’t intend to imply that your pain is temporary because God is going to heal you or instantly change your situation. It is temporary because you were created to live forever in His perfect presence, without pain. Heaven awaits God's children.
Second, I use the word “finite” to express we can’t understand the ways of God. I have a limited understanding and perspective. I can’t grasp God’s plans and purposes. Why He allows some of His children to endure such grievous situations I will never understand. But God is Sovereign, He loves you and He is good. This is not the final chapter of your life. I can’t grasp how God can take so much pain and use it for His greater glory. But I know He does. I know He holds it all. Because I have a good, loving, faithful God Who never changes, then I know I can trust Him even when I don’t understand. It is so difficult to trust Him when I hurt and I don’t understand. I used to think that if He would only tell me “why” then I could trust. Then it really isn’t faith anymore, is it? Plus, I most likely wouldn’t be able to grasp His answer anyway!
I know He can bring light, hope and strength to the most horrendous of circumstances. I am sorry if you are enduring pain right now. But please be encouraged. God desires to strengthen you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He still holds you in the palm of His hand. When life appears to be unraveling and falling apart, He is your sure anchor. He never changes. He is faithful. His promises are certain. Ask Him to help you see Him for Who He really is. Ask Him to help you see that He is forever with you and will never leave you.