A Gift Midst Suffering
Through tears I shared with my ministry team how God mustn’t delight in our suffering.
I had in mind someone close to me who is experiencing much pain. It caused me to wonder again how God can bring anything good from this kind of suffering.
Later the next evening, as I was rushing from store to store preparing for my son’s birthday celebration I reflected on the day. How it was filled with lost and popped balloons, tears, fighting, resisting the car seat, resisting holding my hand in the street, whining, begging, disobedience, a bump on the head that turned into the size of a small egg, and another head injury that broke some skin…few things seemed to go right.
And yet here I was buying presents, buying treats, and decorations, buying new balloons to replace the one that got popped and the one one that flew past the broken ceiling tiles at the $ store. Working on behalf of my dear ones who were asleep.
I felt God speak to me that night. “That is Me”, He said. “I am the One with good plans, preparing good things, healing what is broken, and finding what has been lost. I am the Healer, the Restorer, and the Comforter. I am working on your behalf.”
This is grace. I thought.
Suffering might happen for different reasons, some reasons are clear and some are unclear and at times feel unfair. Yet, I sensed God revealing to me that the gift of suffering is that He makes himself known to us in the midst of it. Of course, good times are also about God making himself known. What if it’s the contrast of beauty, goodness, and suffering that are all about God making himself known? Suffering reminds us of what is not God, what is not right in this world, and the place in God’s kingdom that He is preparing for us that is free from suffering.
I was reminded of my Old Testament study this past year and all the trials and challenges God’s people faced. The common theme throughout was God’s desire to be known and worshiped above all else.
What if to be known is not only God’s greatest longing, but it’s also the greatest gift to humanity? To know and be known by Him, who created us and loves us so greatly.
I am reminded of the Parable of the Hidden Treasure. When the man found the treasure, he sold everything he had to buy the field and make the treasure his own. (Matthew 13:44) This is a reminder that having God in our life is the greatest gift. To know Him is to find hope and goodness. And somehow the joy of knowing Him, releases the significance of suffering in this life.
Though we live in a fallen world, and will experience suffering of many sorts we can know Him and that makes it strangely, okay.
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