Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The problem of pain and suffering

I have heard of numerous stories of miraculous healing and divine deliverance for believers in dire circumstances; those are great stories that we like to share.  We even tell these stories with a hint of undue pride -- see, now the world will know that our religion is good.  But the truth is for every miraculous healing we hear about, there are hundreds of unhealed and heart breaking situations that aren't told. 

Christians who read the Bible should not be surprised by suffering; we're told to expect trials of pain in life and we're told why this is so.  In the New Testament various apostles tell believers they will go through crucible experiences that will refine their faith and character.  The apostle James goes so far to say that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).

For the faithful, the ultimate goal isn't happiness in this life.  There is greater joy to come and that joy will be permanent.  In the meantime we trust our God--who has the power to change our situation in a blink--to do what He deems best to accomplish his plan.  

Accepting suffering isn't a case of expecting too little from God, we still pray for relief no matter what.  But if God doesn't answer the way we envision, we can be sure that we have asked of Him too little, that He is in fact giving us an answer that is much beyond what we can imagine.  (John 14:13; Matthew 7:9)

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