On Suffering

Regular readers would have discovered the rescued stray dog my wife and I adopted passed on last week. I’ve had friends who suffered greater loss of loved ones over the past month. And of course, there’s been quite a lot of bloodshed in the US stock markets as well and there are others mourning different kind of loss.

Before I came to faith in Christ, I actually had more problems with love than suffering. Life seemed to contain lots of suffering – and it can seem arbitrary when we just survey them randomly. So what was strange was that one could love – because it seemed even more meaningless than suffering if there wasn’t a God, or if we just spontaneously emerged in the world without purpose or intent. Love was more a mystery to me.

But as I came to understood love through what was demonstrated by God in Christ, I begin to see perhaps suffering was more a challenge. Faithful Christians suffered, perhaps more than others. And through the bible, whether it was the old or new testament, people who believed in God suffered – often greatly. Yet if one pays close attention, it is often through suffering that we ourselves experience the greatest growth, and we develop more depth in suffering. I’m not saying we should encourage or create suffering but I think we have to learn to see how God’s goodness and His perfect will allows for suffering. And there is meaning in it – yes, even with the misery, the angst, the grief, the pain.

Having gone through all that, the question is, how do you respond? Do you turn bitter against or do you turn to God?