Christians are familiar with this scripture:
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I’m not sure if they are with the next part:
I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. (Psalm 119: 107)
Verse 105 is easy. It is the declaration of every Christian who believes in the scripture to be the inerrant word of God. It is used as the point of reference for the application of morality. It is used when a Christian is navigating through difficult situations.
But then there is the next part: I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord.
There used to be (and still is in some church cultures) an emphasis on faith, to the point of almost denying there is such a thing as suffering for the Christian. It kept one buoyant…above the fray…optimistic, positive, and fighting with the sword of the spirit (the scripture).
This is not a bad thing. It’s only bad when you are caught off guard.
Sometimes, we think suffering happens to other people.
There were times when Christians would speak of God’s goodness of an answered prayer while I was sitting there, suffering, because my prayer was not answered.
Then I learned to speak of God’s goodness when I was suffering. When I did, I found myself feeling stronger, finding peace, and even joy. When we accept, we are trusting God.
Joy and sorrow were together at the cross.
How is it we acknowledge there is suffering in the world, but then are surprised when it comes to us?
We are offended with God. We are angry. We are hurt. We are rejected because God didn’t hear our prayer. He didn’t see how hard we worked. How faithful we were. How much we did what God asked because we loved him with all our heart, soul, and strength.
- As smart as we are, as capable as we are, as productive and innovative as humanity is, we do not understand everything. Think about the things science and medicine cannot explain. So how can we possibly think there is an explanation for our personal pain and suffering?
- Life is eternal. There will be a day when we will understand. All things are hidden with God. There is comfort when you believe that. And it’s not hard to believe it. Because when you have truly hit rock bottom and there is no place to look but up, God is there.
God preserves us during times of suffering. He does it even when we do not know it.
But when you know it, it is all the more wonderful.