Many scoff at the idea that there could be a God since there is so much suffering in the world. They miss that only the existence of God can make sense of the suffering to start. An ant doesn’t question suffering in its life (and if you think it does, this is not the article for you), but man does. I wonder how the God-deniers can explain that. For if we and the ant are just biological reactionaries built up of matter that somehow originated from nothing, suffering is merely a natural part of the universe. It certainly could not be a transformative issue that speaks to a man’s soul.
Try peddling that spiel to someone going through the pain.
Insightful author, Timothy Keller, relates these words from a man named, Mark: “One day just after my diagnosis [ALS], I cried out to God that I thought I was being pulled out of the game when I still had something to offer. His response was, ‘You have been on the sidelines for some time; you are just now going in the game.’”
It seems our suffering, in ways we don’t usually understand, qualifies us for the journey God has planned. Yet the prospect of having to walk in such difficult shoes is immensely uncomfortable. We shrink from the very idea. From the comfortable side of life, we struggle to relate. I’m sure this is why we are always so astounded to hear from those, like Mark, who, in the middle of a terminal illness, rise above their circumstances to proclaim that they wouldn’t trade the intimacy they’ve experienced with God through their ordeal for a single year more of a healthy life on this earth. Through their suffering they came to know God, and His love, in ways that made it all worthwhile.
Right perspective is a blessed thing. For those going through a present trial of any sort, we often, in good conscience, quote to each other that soul-healing verse, Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” Fitting words, to be sure. But today I am struck more deeply by other verses that I have found to be of equal or greater comfort during the difficult times in my own life: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
This profession of God’s resolute love teaches us (and even the scoffers, if they but pay attention) something that so many dear believers living through an enduring struggle have learned firsthand: Through our toughest trials, Jesus is our ever-present companion and sustaining strength. He is also our greatest comfort, ensuring that we not only outlast our suffering, but that we find unsurpassed intimacy in the midst of it.
We were not meant to walk in these difficult shoes alone.
I hope this encourages you to turn to Jesus today.
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