This I know; God is Love.
All love comes from God.
God wants us to have what is good for us.
God wants us to live abundantly.
God cares for us.
Then the phone rings. Or someone knocks on the door. They speak the words you don’t want to hear. In a matter of minutes your world falls apart. What do you do with this suffering that just came uninvited into your world? This suffering that brings you falling to the floor and you think you will never survive? This heavy burden that is for all intense and purpose meaningless, pointless, and with no redemptive purpose. This trial that leaves you feeling completely helpless and despairing of life itself. Now what?
Well, I ran to my Jesus, clung to Him for dear life and never let go. I can’t imagine how someone can go through such intense agony without God.
I knew Jesus understood my pain. He knows what it feels like to have someone we love die. Did He not weep at the tomb where Lazarus lay? “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35 NLT)
In the Garden of Gethsemane, “He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:44 NLT)
In the midst of suffering, there is the despair of believing that there is no reason or purpose! When I think about the day my family died, I knew there was no way I would ever understand what happened and why, or to find purpose in it. It was senseless and horrific! There are no answers!
I had to change my way of thinking. God didn’t cause this to happen. There is nothing good that would ever come out of such a tragedy. So, for me, personally, I had to find a way to see what I was supposed to do now. What did God have to say about this? What was God’s plan for my life now that it was so drastically changed?
This is what I know; God would use it for my good.
God would use it to bring Hope and Healing not only to me, but to others.
This suffering would somehow bring Him glory.
God would set my feet on solid ground and steady my very shaky steps.
God would turn these ashes to beauty for me.
God would turn my mourning to joy.
God would never leave me!
I clung to the promises God gave me from His Word. And I thought about “suffering” and what the deeper meaning was, because so many people are suffering horrible situations. This world is full of trials and suffering. Saint Paul wrote about suffering in 2 Corinthians 1:5-7. Saint Paul listed all that he had suffered but never once did he say, “Why me?” He accepted this suffering for the sake of the Christians and for Christ. This explains why Paul and us as well, can endure so many struggles and still maintain our inner peace. We can look at our suffering as being united with Christ’s suffering and that can be redemptive for us. It gives us a reason to keep going. In light of eternity, it does serve a purpose. Christians are to become like Christ by patiently uniting our suffering to Him.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7 tells us that when we are afflicted we will be comforted with reassurance, encouragement, and consolation. His comfort and peace will always be abundant.
Saint Paul said, “There is joy in the midst of suffering.” Paul could rejoice in his suffering because in his surrender to his suffering he was conformed to his crucified Lord and cooperated with Jesus in the salvation of souls. Here we can find meaning in our trials. Have we not been crucified with Christ? I choose to follow Christ and that means I also choose to share in His suffering and to comfort others with the same comfort He has given me. Suffering for Christ’s sake purifies us and unites us to Jesus’ redemptive work.
This tragedy has no purpose in and of itself. What is most important to me is that my God is a loving, companionate Father. And He loves me. He wept with me in my sorrow. And He has turned it around for good, for me, as well as for those I share my story with. God has a plan and purpose for me still.
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.” (Psalm 9: 9-10 NLT)