As a storm raged over Wisconsin’s capital city last night, a little boy I know, who has been suffering from a variety of serious illnesses since he was a toddler, experienced a series of seizures. It was like the electricity in the air triggered these sudden attacks, leaving Nic and his mom holding each other feeling helpless as the lightning stuck again and again through the wee hours of the night coinciding with the rage of illness inside this young boy’s body.
This now ten-year-old kid, with many special needs inflicted on him from diseases he’s survived over the years, began questioning God’s existence in the midst of the storm, while his Christian mother held him, her heartbreaking into pieces – again.
“If God exists, mommy, then He must be mad at me to put me through so much,” Nic told his mom.
What does a mother say to this struggling young son of hers? Hasn’t she had the same thoughts in moments of doubt? Yet through the years, her faith has remained strong, but she understands why Nic and her other children have questions. Who wouldn’t?
First and foremost, we must learn to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Rom. 12:15), and sometimes just sit and listen to them. Giving advice or telling a person in the middle of suffering that this is ‘good for them’ is probably not a great idea. Earlier in the Book of Romans, we read that: “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan,” but there is a time and place for such advice. In the middle of someone’s pain, the best thing we can do for them is try to provide some comfort: a hug, a hot meal, or simply a box of tissue for a good, long cry.
But if God exists, why is there so much pain? This is perhaps the biggest stumbling block that people have today in making a step of faith towards God. In my studies, I’ve come to learn a few things about suffering. One is that God doesn’t cause most of the pain we see today in the world; most of it is caused by people hurting other people. Secondly, it is in the providential plan of God to allow free will for this season of existence so that He may gather up those who willingly choose to love Him, eventually ridding the universe of evil once and for all so that we can spend eternity with Him in heaven doing glorious things we cannot even fathom.
…and there lies the hope. Without God, where is hope? If this life is all we have, then Nic’s suffering, or the suffering of any person, has no ultimate purpose—it’s all for nothing. You suffer, you die, and that’s it. Where is the good in that? But with Christ, because He bridged the gap between us and our Father God, we have the hope of heaven, in new resurrected bodies, to spend forever with our Creator, who we will continually learn from and be part of His plans. Jesus said in John 16:33, … “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For a deeper understanding of pain and suffering, read Joni Earekson Tada’s book called “When God Weeps: why our sufferings matter to the Almighty.” Joni was in a diving accident at the age of 17, which severed her spinal cord and rendered her a paraplegic. If anyone has a understands suffering, this 65-year-old woman certainly does.
As Paul said to the Romans, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 18:18.) To learn more about heaven, and what possibly awaits us, I did a research paper on the subject and posted under the “Writings” tab here: http://thinkdivinely.com/2014/07/18/heaven-does-it-make-up-for-suffering-on-earth.
Pray for peace in the midst of suffering, and persist in the hope of heaven. With God there is always hope!