God’s blessing in Suffering
by Kim Larsen
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you and you will seek me and find me.”
God permits trials to assail His people, that by their consistency and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others. The very trials that task our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace which He gives us in exchange.
There was a special interest story on the news last week about a young couple with 2 small boys. The father had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) about 6 years ago and had just very recently passed away. His wife was literally on the phone making his funeral arrangements when she received another phone call from her doctor, with the bad news that she had liver cancer. I watched in disbelief as she verbalized her experience and the calmness she possessed in the face of this insurmountable tragedy.
The first thing we think is, “whew! Glad it’s not me!”. Am I right? According to the scripture at the beginning, God uses such events as these to bring us closer to him. It is a common mistake to believe that God is the one who causes these events in our lives. Actually it is the prince of this world who is causing all of the pain and suffering and disease in our world. Yes, God allows it to happen, but for a reason. A very good reason .
I heard a testimony from a man a few years ago that sums this all up. He was the father of 4 young teenagers, who were very talented musicians. He and his wife were very active in their music, they managed their concerts and CD sales. Out of the blue he became very sick and was diagnosed with leukemia and was terminally ill. His testimony was that he praised God for allowing him to have cancer, he had been so blessed to seek and deepen his relationship with Christ deeper than he could have ever imagined. I had never thought of it that way before. He was right! What a loving Heavenly Father we have. He wants what’s best for us, a relationship with Him.