Sometimes things happen in our lives that we don’t understand. We know God is all-powerful and all-loving, so why would he allow the death of a loved one, or of a marriage? Why would he allow a worldwide pandemic or other tragedies?
I think part of our questioning is because of a widespread belief that if God loves us, he won’t allow us to hurt. That’s what I thought. So when the pain was excruciating, I felt he must have abandoned me. But I found out later he didn’t.
Do you think God loved the Biblical character Job? Job 1:1 says Job was blameless, upright, feared God, and turned away from evil. God had blessed and prospered him abundantly. Yet there came a day when calamity fell abundantly. God, for reasons unknown to Job, wanted to prove something to Satan.
Another example is Joseph, great-grandson of Abraham. His calamity fell because of the jealousy of his brothers who sold him into slavery. Years later, Joseph told his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.” This shows he wasn’t holding a grudge against them.
The best example of all is Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. The movie, “The Passion,” shows clearly what terrible pain and agony he went through even before dying on the cross. Did his Father love Him? Of course he did. John 5:20 says, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him that you may marvel.”
These examples show me there is a purpose in suffering. Job trusted God, not knowing that God wanted to show Satan what a wonderful man he was. In the midst of it, he said, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” So maybe he thought his purpose was the refining of his character. He passed the test and God restored to him what he’d lost.
Joseph maintained his integrity throughout his years of slavery and sorrow, and God elevated him to the highest position in Egypt, gave him a family, a job, and a purpose.
Jesus knew his purpose in coming to earth was to die, in order to bring salvation to all who believed in Him. He willingly laid down his life for us, enduring all the pain. On the third day, he came alive again, proving he is who he said he is.
Through my most painful experiences, God taught me to trust him better.
The following song gives a glimpse of why we sometimes have to suffer.
Judith Vander Wege