“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)
With sin comes suffering. When mankind chose to go our own way, we lost the protective covering oneness with God provides. Which raises a valid question: “Then why doesn’t our oneness in Jesus, given to us when we’re born again spiritually, keep us safe from harm, disease, discomfort, and heartache?” And my simple answer is – “It does!”
And I can hear your response: “Whoa, but wait? If I’m free of all of those things you mentioned, why did my ______ die of ________? Or why do I still suffer from ________(you can fill in the blanks)?” Part of the problem arises from our misunderstanding of and impatience with the promises of God.
Isaiah wrote in reference to our Savior in chapter 53, verse 3-6: “He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. WE turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and WE did not care. Yet it was OUR weaknesses He carried; it was 0UR sorrows that weighed Him down. And WE thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! But He was pierced for OUR rebellion, crushed for OUR sins. He was beaten so WE could be whole. He was whipped so WE could be healed. All of US, like sheep, have strayed away. WE have left God’s paths to follow OUR OWN. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of US ALL.”
In some warped, Satan-inspired way we believe we shouldn’t ever suffer. It’s not that we can’t understand the suffering for sin in the world, we just don’t think God should allow us to suffer. We’re stupid, selfish kids wanting only what’s best for us, blinded to the fact that’s exactly what God has offered us in Jesus.
Jesus illustrated in and through the sacrifice of His own life on the cross, that no one escapes death and the suffering that accompanies it. Children, some who die at birth or even before, may not suffer themselves, but the anguish, pain, and heartache brought about by their passing leaves an eternal scar on the hearts of those who loved them.
Perhaps the suffering of innocents – whether children or those born with the inability to care for themselves – tug at our hearts the hardest. We can understand that our sin deserves punishment, and even though Jesus paid the penalty for our sin on the cross, the consequences of our personal disobedience will render each of us heartache, pain, and suffering. But, those who are young, abandoned, forgotten, wounded in body, mind, and heart, cause us to struggle to make sense of their suffering.
Does God not care? Is He not aware? Why doesn’t He do something? May I confess that on some levels my mind can’t stretch far enough to understand some things – these kinds of questions included. But what I can’t comprehend intellectually I turn over to my heart to trust that where the limits of our understanding end, God’s clarity of heart and mind takes over.
If this life was all there was, it would be a source of never-ending depression and despair. But because we have hope for a bright future in heaven where everything will be restored to its original grandeur and glory, our eye of faith can enable us to rejoice with patient gladness that one day every wrong will be made right and every heart that places their trust in Jesus will be eternally healed.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊