“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
In the southern district of ancient Jerusalem stood the tower of Siloam. At some point during the ministry of Jesus the tower collapsed killing eighteen people. The Lord asked His disciples, “Do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you…”
Pain and suffering are realities that we must deal with one way or another. We may attempt to discover a cause, and that can be good. Pain can be our salvation, for example, when we realize that some changes must be made. Children learn not to touch a shot stove. An accident may teach us to drive more carefully. The lessons to be learned through many types of suffering may be quite simple: Humans are mortal and safety pays.
We may also look for answers where there are none. Our determination to find answers may result in us coming up with the wrong ones. We may look at ourselves and ask, “What have I done that God should punish me like this?” Or, we may blame others, even God, and say, “Why me? I’ve been a good person. I don’t deserve this. God isn’t fair.”
If there are no obvious answers to pain and suffering it may be more beneficial to accept our suffering as something that is common to many and understand that nothing terribly unusual has happened to us. We have a lot of fellow sufferers. Instead of groping for answers or blaming how about sharing our distress with others? Many around us would appreciate the opportunity to offer support and comfort. And we may do the same for others so they know they are not alone.
God has promised that one day we will enter the perfect joy of His eternal kingdom where pain and suffering will be no more. Until then, our loving and merciful God who in Christ Jesus experienced torn flesh, burning thorns, utter loneliness and rejection has given us His this assurance; “I will never leave you of forsake you.” Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, it is not answers we need but the comfort and assurance of His presence.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”