I used to think only the dreaded four-letter words (you know, the ones your momma would wash your mouth out with soap for using) would prompt such a reaction. I was wrong.
There is a new word that has taken top position on my, “Don’t ever use that word” list. It’s six letters – cancer.
It seems everywhere I turn I’m receiving news that yet another friend of our family is riddled with this disease. Just a year ago my Dad passed away after a battle with this evil, while at the same time, I nearly lost one of my dearest friends. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you have several people to come to your mind.
So why does God allow such suffering to happen?
Go ahead. You can admit that you’ve wondered the same thing. Even those of us with deep faith and trust in God’s plan and purpose find ourselves one time or another questioning His reasoning.
First, let me make it perfectly clear, God does not take pleasure in causing His children pain.
But we must realize that we are living in a fallen, sin-filled world. Our world is broken, and we live covered in flesh, sinful flesh. And in our brokenness, some things happen. Things that aren’t good. Things like disease, accidents, abuse, and other not so pretty things.
This chick can tell you first hand about all of that stuff on the list and then some. I’m sure you can too. There is something else I can tell you about, and that is the love of our God in heaven.
You keep tack of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalms 56:8
Like any loving parent, our Heavenly Father aches when we hurt.
How do I know? For what other reason would He keep a record of our sorrows and collect our tears? Because He loves us, and when we hurt, he wants to provide us comfort.
God even told us to that there would be trials in this life, He also said to us that our faith would be fire tested, but that there would be the joy that comes as a result of the trials when we trust in Him.
First, He tells us in 1 Peter 1:6-7:
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Lord makes it perfectly clear that we will face trials and things that grieve our hearts. That dreaded “c-word” is most certainly a trial. But there’s hope! You see, this life in this flesh is temporary. But having strong faith in Jesus Christ is forever.
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have the promise of an eternity filled with joy.
God also gives us an apparent reason for some of our suffering in 2 Corinthians 1:4 when he promises us that He will comfort us in our trials and suffering so that we will be able to comfort others with the comfort God provides us.
So here’s the bottom line. I hate watching friends and family suffer. I absolutely despise the “c-word,” but greater than all of that, I love and trust my God.
His plan and purpose are always perfect.
Whether I agree with His plans is irrelevant. What is relevant? God loves us. He sent Jesus to die for all of us. And for those of us who accept Christ as our Savior, even though the fires of this life, our God freely pours out his love, mercy, and grace. He is our lifeline, and in our struggles, he is our comforter.
Why? Because when we struggled and faced challenges, “…God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…” does so, “…so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
For those who have suffered and lost, I pray you feel the loving arms of our mighty God wrapped around you providing you peace that surpasses all understanding. For those who have suffered and overcome, God has mighty plans for you. I pray you will freely share his love and comfort with others. For God is good all of the time, even in the suffering.