What if your blessings
come through raindrops?
What if your healing
comes through tears?
What if a 1000 sleepless nights
are what it takes
to know you’re near?
What if trials in this life
are your mercies in disguise?
This weekend Dr. Chad Meister, PhD, author, and Professor of Theology at Bethel University, shared with us on the topics of pain and suffering and how the presence of evil in our world points toward God. He shared with us several things to keep in mind when we find ourselves in that place where we are wrestling with the question of how a good God can allow so much pain and suffering.
First, we need to realize that the world is too complex and God is too big for our limited minds to grasp. That the gift of choice makes it possible for people to make wrong decisions as easily as right ones, and sometimes those wrong decisions affect others. That sometimes God allows suffering so that He can use it to mold us into the people He desires us to be, and that our Savior also suffered so that we might be transformed. Dr. Meister reminded us in the span of eternity whatever suffering we endure will be engulfed by God’s love as a grain of sand is engulfed by the vastness of not only its beach but all the beaches of the world.
I think too often we allow our distorted view of who God is and what He is doing in our lives to affect our daily walk with Him. We focus on our grains of sand, and by doing so we allow our times of pain and suffering to dictate our view of ourselves and our God. I think that is why Dr. Meister’s illustration of the cake made such an impact on me personally.
Making a cake from scratch requires many different ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla, etc… Most of these ingredients, if tasted individually, are pretty nasty. But once they are blended together and allowed to bake, they become something wonderfully sweet.
As I look at my past, I could easily get entangled by those things that have brought me pain: an alcoholic father, my parent’s divorce, a broken engagement, a miscarriage and others. But those things do not define me. They are only the ingredients that have helped to shape me into the person I am today. One that Jesus loved enough to suffer on the cross so that I could have a relationship with Him. Now that is pretty sweet.
- Can you think of a time when you have wrestled with why a good God would allow pain and suffering?
- Look up James 1:2-4. Why should we consider it “pure joy” to be faced with trials?
- Make an ingredients list of areas in your life where you have experienced pain. Take a moment to thank God for what He will do to make these ingredients into something sweet.