My heart hurts, and not for the first time this month. A single thought runs through my mind. “Things like this aren’t supposed to happen”. So why do they?
In John 16:33 we are told a cold, harsh truth. We will have suffering in this world. As humans we will never be able to understand the why behind everything. God doesn’t need or want us to; however, there are certain things he wants to make sure we do know. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” [Genesis 1:31]. God did not create evil or suffering, he never intended these troubles for his children. Although suffering is not good, our God is able to use it to accomplish good. He is able to use these troubles to demonstrate certain necessities in our lives.
Our God is not an uninterested, distant, or unloving God by any means. In His desire to understand the pain and suffering His children experience, the Lord sent his one and only son into the world. During his time on Earth Jesus was subjected to pain and suffering, grief and sorrow, heartbreak and despair. He was rejected and left in darkness. It was necessary for Jesus to experience these circumstances in order for His father to fully enter into our experiences. If that isn’t the most incredible act of love, I don’t know what is.
As I said before, God uses the troubles we experience to demonstrate the things we need most. We need to draw close to Him. We need to immerse ourselves in Christian community. We need to trust. In the face of tragedy we have two options, to turn away from God or to run into His open arms. “The Lord is a strong fortress. The godly run to him and are safe.” [Proverbs 18:10 MSG] The Lord provides unfailing spiritual support for us, if we are simply willing to run to him. Nothing in this world is too great for our God. In tough times He knows we must not be left alone. These are the most important times for us to immerse ourselves in a Christian community. Just as He promises to be with us in our time of need, He promises to be with us as we come together. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” [Matthew 18:20] God designed us to live in community with others, He designed brothers and sisters to love and support each other in the physical world. Often times in our lives there are situations that we will not be able to cope with on our own. We gather with others for prayer, a much needed hug, or in my case someone to share a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with. Along with drawing nearer to the Lord and gathering with others, when adverse circumstances seem overwhelming we must trust. Trust in Him that not only are his plans for us greater than we will ever know, but that he will be ever-present. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” [Isaiah 43:2] Our God is so loving and so devoted to his children that he will walk with us through every situation. His son experienced great suffering in this world, His son died so that you and I may receive comfort in our suffering. Just as the Lord used His son to enter into our world, He uses suffering to show us what we need in this same world. My heart is hurting, but my heart is full with Him.