Suffering and pain come to us all from time-to-time…we are all familiar with its ache and sting. It is very non-discriminating when it pierces us and it is quick to try and leave us with no hope.
Many of the things going on in our world at this time are hard to bear up under. Without ruminating too much, the folks on the west coast of our country have certainly had enough of the flames that are greedily snuffing out lives and homes. I am sure many of us have never seen the likes of those fires that are raging so adamantly in California, Oregon, and Washington…I pray we do not see them again. It must seem to be adding insult to injury in the midst of a virus that is claiming so many lives and changing the way we have always lived and worked and loved. The folks in Louisiana are desperately trying to pick up the pieces of their lives shattered and ravaged by a ruthless hurricane.
I do not know why God allows such suffering to take place and with what may seem to most as holy silence. When I search His Word, I long for an answer to the suffering and only one thing has stayed constant in my wonderings…He is sovereign, He is holy, and He is just. He is most definitely not unkind or cruel…I know this to be true in my own life. However, how do we answer within our souls the questions of why or why not? How do we reconcile the pain and ache or even help someone else to reckon it out?
The great theologian, Charles Spurgeon, said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” Spurgeon spoke these words because in his own life he suffered from the pain of deep depression, darkness, and the incomprehensible ache of aloneness. Yet, he understood that Hope, if to be found, was found in our suffering. He said, “Hope itself is like a star- not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.”
There are things we think we cannot bear. We do bear them…we can bear them…because He bore our sins. Isaiah told us:
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
Many of the great giants of the Bible suffered with physical pain and souls that anguished from depression or moments void with hope. David said of his pain,
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalms 27:13-14
We all have read of Job’s pain and heartache…great heartache and suffering sought him in his life. He never cursed God in this, but he did ask God why…he sought an answer to this question of suffering. God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind and then Job…reconciled his questions by proclaiming to God:
Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6
David’s suffering and Job’s suffering are no stranger or more painful than our suffering is now. The ache and sorrows of life overcome all of us…but we do not have to languish in that hurt. There is Hope…it is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is truly acquainted with the heartaches we feel that weigh so heavily on our souls. He suffered loss, as we see when He wept at Lazarus’ tomb — his friend — and yet while He was fully man and fully God, He wept so that we would know that He truly understands.
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” John 11:32-36
Truly, as Isaiah said, He has bore within His body our grief and our sorrows. He bore within His flesh the punishment of our sins. He bore our stripes and was stricken and smitten of God. Why? Why would Jesus come from His throne on high in the form of a man to bear so much for us? He came so that we would be redeemed…that we would dwell with Him for eternity, if we served Him as Lord. He reconciled us — He bore our sin and shame — because He loves us.
So — as ashes fall from the skies on the west coast and as we learn to live in a world that is plagued with bacteria that seek to kill us — remember that these are so very temporal. Trust Him — trust Him with today…with your pain and heartache…with your life. Eternity is a moment away — just a moment away. Trust Him with your eternity. For now, allow Him to bear your pain and suffering for tomorrow we will live forever without it in His glorious Kingdom.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. Revelation 21:1-7
It will be glory — for our good — and only for His Glory!
Soli Deo Gloria