What a difficult week it has been for so many people in Boston and Texas. Many hearts have been broken. So much suffering. To me, it feels as if God is breaking my heart into smaller and smaller pieces. Suffering has been a nearly constant companion for the past month. Some weeks have been more intense than others.
In recent months I have been reaching outside of my comfort zone to help others. And in so doing I have discovered that God has been making me more sensitive and tender to the suffering of others. And also, to His love. God has been showing me that He is faithful to all His children, even when they don't have answers.
I have seen how God provides jobs, health, wisdom, endurance, courage, friends, and hope in very difficult circumstances.
And through it all I know that He is telling me, " See how I care for those who love me? I can and always will do the same for you but especially in your times of need. I will never leave you."
It is these words He whispers to my heart during worship at church almost every Sunday. Many times when I'm singing I am overwhelmed by his promise. The words speak to me deep inside and I cry. Sometimes I have to leave the congregation and visit the ladies room until I regain control of my emotions.
I have prayed about this, I have talked to trusted advisers about this, and the conclusion I have reached is that God is working His will in my heart. To what end I don't yet know. But I do know that He can minister through tears. I know that God is close to the broken hearted.
How many people carry broken hearts today and every day? If we were privy to the suffering experienced all over the world by man, beast, and nature it would destroy us. Who can carry that burden and not be overcome? Only God.
As I have been reflecting I realize that it is our natural, default reaction to try and escape suffering. We want to fix ourselves, our situations but we simply can't. Yet even knowing this we keep trying. Why is that? I believe the Bible gives me an answer. Just like Adam and Eve, our natural desire is to hunger for control. Human beings yearn to be Gods of their own little worlds. And its frightening when something happens outside of our control to disrupt our worlds. That is suffering.
Suffering has a way of revealing our hidden idols.
Jesus told us that in this world we will suffer. This doesn't mean that He wants us to suffer but that it is unavoidable. Suffering is a necessary tool He must use to help us see how dependent we really are on Him. It reminds us of our frail humanity and how quickly life goes by.
But God promises to set us free. In this life He sets us free within our suffering. When we die or when Jesus returns we will finally be set free from all suffering. This is one more reason why death for Christians is not something to fear.
I cannot imagine the pain friends, family, and first responders are experiencing from the two tragedies this week. But I know that God is good and that He is not oblivious or uncaring to the heart-ache people suffer. Why did these events happen? Only He can answer that. Only He can see how all events fit together.
I do know how the story of this world ultimately ends. Thankfully, mercifully God gives us the ending so that we don't lose all hope. The dawn is coming. The cage of suffering has already been opened. He will show us how to fly.
How are your present disappointments and discouragements revealing what you are depending on to make your life matter in your eyes? What or who makes you feel validated? How can God help you remove anything or anyone that may be replacing Him?