All suffering contains within it at least the opportunity for good. Whether it be to teach you or discipline you, the result of living in a fallen world or the consequences of wrong decisions, to cultivate empathy or impart mercy; redemption awaits the observant sufferer. When all pain has subsided and all the tears have been shed, when we stand ready to measure our days; the good experienced by knowing God and dwelling within the shadow of His wings will far outweigh all the pain and suffering; or for that matter, even the joys.
We have all heard the accusations, “If there’s a God, why is there so much evil in the world?” “Why do the innocent suffer?” “Why do babies die?” “Why are children and women abused?” “Why are there so much war, disease and famine?” “If there’s a God, then explain the Holocaust, The Killing Fields of Cambodia, Rwanda and the Sudan. Explain cancer, Alzheimer’s, and modern plagues.” The irony of pain and suffering is that almost all objections to the existence of God based on all the tribulation in the world comes from outside observers who are quite comfortable; while those who experience the greatest trials and endure the most painful suffering call upon His name daily and find their faith strengthened in their trials. It is the world’s greatest sufferers who have displayed the brightest examples of how to be “more than a conqueror.”
The truth is, on the subject of pain and suffering, the faithful do not demand an explanation from God, but rather His very presence; just as the lover cannot be satisfied merely by words of love but only by the presence of his beloved. Just read about Moses’ and Job’s face encounters with God and you will understand this power to satisfy.
In the end, the answer to pain and suffering is not an answer at all; it is the Answerer. It is Jesus Himself that satisfies. It is not a comforting word or even an encouraging scripture verse; but Emmanuel: God with us! He who calmed the storms can surely calm our stormy hearts. He who raised the dead can surely raise our hopes. He who reached into the depths of hell, kicked in its rusty gates and set the captives free can surly reach into our darkest hours and set our spirits free.
“No matter how deep our darkness; He is deeper still.” Corrie Ten Boom
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