The Problem of Pain

I awoke today praying, praying, praying. Carrying so many burdens for others; wishing there were a rewind button for life. So many people dear to me are facing things they never thought they’d go through. Overwhelming circumstances … the kinds of things that go bump in the night. Pictures in their minds they wish they could erase; stories they wish they weren’t living. I have plenty of my own.

My pastor spoke briefly Sunday morning about the problem of evil in our world. When difficult and terrible things happen, people say, “Where’s God? How do such awful things happen if He’s all-powerful? Why doesn’t He just wipe out all evil?” And while the theological answer for that is complicated and way beyond my scope, much of that answer boils down to one thing: He IS the answer for sin. As Pastor Russ said, He came and lived here and experienced pain and suffering, so he UNDERSTANDS our pain and suffering. He also promises to BE WITH US in it; His body and blood offered up means He can live through us and walk alongside us as we go through this darkened world. Thankfully, blessedly, He also provides A WAY OUT. Someday, it will all be over. Pain and suffering will be permanently eradicated and everything will be made right.

Here’s the problem: if God were to wipe out all evil, where would that leave me? Because I’m on that list of evil-bearers. I’ve caused plenty of pain in this world and done many things to slap Him in the face. I’ve been selfish and prideful and covetous and critical. And that’s the short version of the bloggable list. Wiping out all evil in the world would mean I would cease to exist … actually, would have ceased to exist, a long time ago.

What about you?

So today I repent again for the pain I have caused people. I cry out for His mercy and grace and thank Him for covering me and for paying for it all long, long ago. I am grateful because I need Him in my life; need Him to walk alongside me and guide me and carry me sometimes. (Okay, often.) I remind myself of His promise to someday make everything right. In the meantime, I have to recall that He’s in my boat.

 

And for all of us who hurt, I pray. For grace. For strength and wisdom. For God to carry us all in His arms and comfort us as He alone can. I pray we are able to do as Spurgeon exhorts us here …

“Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.” -Spurgeon

May we all see His glory in the dark.

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6 Responses to The Problem of Pain

  1. My brother-in-law has been recovering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome for the past 1.5 years. This is the testimony he gave at a conference on suffering. I thought I’d share it with you since it so encouraged me! You’re website encourages me, too. Thank you!

    http://www.eibibleschool.org/resources/audio2/gbs

  2. Pingback: The Heart of the Matter | Leigh Bortins The Heart of the Matter |

  3. Maria says:

    Our Pastor was just talking about the same thing 2 weeks ago!!
    Yep – gonna share this with everybody – so well said!

  4. Carrie says:

    Misty, whenever I read your words on HOTM, I am touched so I came straight to the source! This post too spoke to my heart. Lately, I’ve been recalling past wrongs that I have done, one laid heavy on me. It happened so long ago, when I was a child, but I can’t shake the guilt or shame. I’ll continue to repent and to pray for His mercy though in my heart of hearts I know that He has already forgiven me. Thank you again for your encouragement and may we all find peace one day with our Savior.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carrie, thank you so much! You know, I think one thing that helps me not return to the sins of my past (and there are wayyyy too many to count) is to remember that God sees Jesus’ blood covering them–which means they don’t exist to Him. He has thrown them far into the sea of His forgetfulness–why should *I* be so bold as to drag them back out? To think we could do anything to earn forgiveness is almost like expecting Him to pay us for working hard, which is a slap in the face to Him if I read Romans correctly. God is deeply in love with you and there is nothing you could do to add to His great sacrifice. Love to you, and praying for peace!

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