Friday, January 21, 2011

The question of suffering.

Last week was a hard week for me. Pregnancy tends to bring my emotions to the surface. Small things that normally would not bother me seem huge. Large things that should bother me bring forth a flood of emotions. With the anniversary of Haiti's earthquake and the shootings in Arizona, I felt as though I had cried all week. May soul feels assaulted by the suffering of this world. Death and despair have shown their ugly heads in a way that makes me long for heaven like never before.

As Larry and I discussed why I was feeling so sad, i told him about watching the funeral of a nine year old little girl. I don't know her or her family, yet I grieve for them as if she were a child in our community, in our fellowship. Because her death represents the shattered innocence of childhood and the frailty of life. When I  think that way, I realize that my children's lives, my husband's life, indeed  my own life in subject to the same frailty.

My Haitian friends did not know days or even an hour in advance that such a life changing event would happen. Congress woman Gifford and the other victims in Arizona didn't know life would be forever altered that Saturday. They were just going about their lives when they met eternity.

It's so hard to look at this side of eternity and deal with the WHYs. Why do bad things happen? Philosophers have asked that questions for centuries. Men and women much smarter than I, go back and forth with ideas and banter. I was taught long ago not to ask Why, instead ask, Why not? Why not me? Why not those innocent people? Instead we should ask, What is the point of this suffering? The asking is not the issue, the assumption that only good and prosperous things should happen to us,  that is the problem. It is the bad, sad and difficult things that drive us to a deeper knowledge of God.

Then you have to ask yourself, is a deeper relationship with God worth this kind of suffering? Do I want to know and be known by a God that allows these hardships? Can I  say, in the hard times. It is well with my soul!? A friend who's son is suffering with cancer recently wrote "If our obedience to Christ costs others something, then is it really worth it? What if it's your child? Ponder that." Oh how her question pierced my soul!

In all the sadness and destruction we have seen with these two events, have we not seen God using men and women to honor, serve  and love one another to bring God glory? Has God's gospel been brought forth and spoken of? Are people going and serving because of these events? The answer is yes. Out of the ashes and rubble, God is making beauty.

Last week I received an e-mail from Dr. Vlad.  one of the awesome Haitian doctors we worked with. He included this news, "From January 12th (2010) the earth quake in Haiti killed 316000 Haitians and strangers." On the one year anniversary, "The Haitian dedicated that day as a Memorial day, around 70% of the Haitian people went to church and turned their faces to God."

Wow! Can you imagine the eternal impact that 70% of a country's people turning their face towards God, seeking forgiveness and comfort from their creator, what impact that would have! Can you see the beauty in the ashes? If that suffering had not occurred, would that beauty exist?

My heart is still so very heavy for Haiti, and for the loss in Arizona, for all the sickness and death that we suffer with in this world. Yet, I am reassured in knowing that God is a God of comfort and healing. Restoration and true joy can only be known in Him. I long for the day that we will see Him face to face, that our tears will be wiped away and the knowledge behind the suffering will be made known. But until that day, I know my days should be busy, witnessing to my children, to my church, to people in my community sharing with them the Lord that can  make beauty from ashes. Isa 61:3


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your note. Really been pondering these same things lately. Haven't come to a complete answer yet, except that I know the Word is true and I know the promises are alive and active! Praise Him!

The Monier Family said...

You are such a sweet and compassionate woman and honored to count you as one of my friends. I miss you and your smiling face and wish I could clean your house for you while you put up your feet.