There’s nothing peaceful about it. One day all is well and then…BAM…you’re hit by the harsh reality of hardship, suffering and anguish. You’re flooded with emotions and thoughts you never dreamt of as your world turns upside down. Your reality spinning, you struggle to get your bearings and figure out how to move forward. Let’s face it, life is pain and if you’re like most people, you can’t help but ask the question…
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It’s a simple question but seeking out its answer leads down a path of profound truth. I’d like to first acknowledge that your trial, your battle, is real. It’s a daily fight and there is no minimizing this. But know this:
Life was never meant to be this way.
Initially, God made everything perfect and it wasn’t until sin that suffering and death entered the world (see Genesis chapters 1-3). Yeah, I know, I brought God into this and maybe He’s the one you’re upset with the most. But let me tell you that pain and hardship was not on the menu when the universe was created. So, to a point, suffering (and tragedy) happens because it is part of life as we know it. Yay, we get to live in a messed up, “fallen” world. I hope my sarcasm is evident.
I remember as a child reading the book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.” It follows the day of a young boy who has a series of bad things happen. He gets gum in his hair, had a bad lunch meal, an elevator closes on his foot and a few dozen other terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things. At the end of the story, as Alexander lays in bed mourning the day’s events, he remembers what his mom said to him in response to his grievances, “Some days are like that.” It’s a lesson about moving on to the next day and not dwelling on the negative. But what happens when ALL of your days are forever marred? No quaint kids story can prepare us for the battles of life to come…can it?
A man named Job lived a few thousand years ago. He really had it going on in life: loving family, loyal friends, and was very well off financially. One day, in almost an instant, it was all gone. Sons, dead. Daughters, dead. Crops, destroyed. Cattle, slain; and so on and so forth. All that remained was an uncompassionate wife and 3 finger-pointing friends. Oh yeah, and he had a bunch of oozing sores all over his body. Gross. Well one day as Job was reflecting on his current state, he noted that there were people who couldn’t care less about God and weren’t suffering like he was. Here he lay in agony, as a good and honorable guy who followed God, and yet HE was the one who lost nearly EVERYTHING.
Job was asking “why me?” (see Job chapter 21).
At one point, God showed up and sort of put Job in his place. God basically explained to Job that His ways and thoughts are far superior to Job’s…so who was Job to question God as to what he was and was not doing or why? For the record, it was Satan who was causing Job’s suffering.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” He was saying that pain, suffering, hardship, struggle, etc is a part of life and yet we should “take heart.” And Jesus was no slouch when it came to suffering. As a matter of fact, it’s actually what he came to earth to do! If you’ve never done it before (or haven’t in a while) I encourage you to read the book of John as it chronicles the suffering of Jesus and how He overcame.
If anyone had a right to complain about unfair or harsh life tragedies…it would be Jesus. He was repeatedly mocked, discredited, made fun of by friends and family, betrayed, unjustly tried in court, beaten within an inch of his life, abandoned by those he loved, was tortured through crucifixion and bore the harsh penalty of the sins of the entire world.
If ANYONE has had the right to ask, “why me?” it is Jesus of Nazareth.
And yet, He did quite the opposite…he embraced it. Fun fact – it was through Jesus’ suffering that all sin was paid for and a path was made for all people to be able to go to Heaven. Talk about getting something good from the bad!
God is in the business of redeeming the bad in our lives and miraculously working it out for the good.
By the way, if you don’t know about this Jesus guy, let me encourage you to check Him out. The Bible teaches that He is God in the flesh and chose to come and suffer on your behalf so that you could have an opportunity to go to heaven. While we may not know why God has allowed you to go through all this, you CAN rest assured that He loves you and wants to be here for you (Psalm 46:1). Confess your sins to Him (Romans 10:9-10), turn from them and put your faith in Him. It changed my life and will change yours. Besides…those that follow Jesus get new bodies in heaven.
Because life is broken. All of creation is broken. Unfortunately, suffering happens to everything that has breath. But God, in His infinite love can and WILL work out all things together for good if you give the battle over to Him (Romans 8:28). Will you trust Him? Will you let Him work in your trial? He’s a really great guy to have in your corner!
He will help you rise from the ashes.
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