We seem to be in a season of suffering. And we are especially sensitive today since it’s the anniversary of 9/11. It seems that bad things are happening to people all around us. Finances, divorce, drugs, death…and the list goes on and on. Just this week a friend of my daughter’s drowned at Lake Keowee trying to help another girl.
So the age-old question, once again, is asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Is God punishing us? Does he not care? Is he too busy for me?
The answer to all of those questions is unequivocally NO. God loves us beyond what we could ever imagine. We are his children.
…For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5-6 NLT)
My friends Betsy and Bob (who I visited this summer) are missionaries in Prague, Czech Republic. So many people think, “Wow…what a great place to be a missionary. How hard can it be in comparison to Ethiopia or India or another third world country.” Believe me. It’s hard. I saw it first hand. Europe is not a third world country and most people in Europe don’t think they need God. Why would they when their lives are hunky-dory? So actually convincing people that having a relationship with God is a good thing—that it’s necessary—is very difficult. To even broach the subject requires months of developing a personal relationship with them. That’s love, people. And it takes a lot of it.
Here’s the thing. Our suffering increases our awareness of God’s presence.
Sometimes we need to emptied of our own resources and pride so we can rely on Him.
Does he cause our suffering? I don’t think so. But he does walk through it with us, whether we realize it or not. He will dwell with us through the pain.
And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (Matthew 6:30 NLT)
Often when we are in the midst of a trial we may feel underserving of God’s love. It’s certainly not uncommon for our own sin to be the cause of our suffering. In my case, even though I ended up dependent and then addicted to a narcotic from a medical condition, the desperation shame was there, none the less. Even though I knew better, on a subconscious level, I pulled away from God because I felt underserving of His love…and His grace and mercy.
Nothing we can do can make us unworthy of God’s love. We may feel like He’s not there when we are suffering, when in fact, we are the ones pulling away from Him!
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:1 ESV)
But why? Why have our sins separated us from God when He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins? When Jesus’s blood covers our sin? It’s us. What if we separate ourselves because we don’t feel worthy?
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; (Isaiah 59:1 ESV)
God loves you. No matter what.
Don’t let the trickery of the enemy deceive you into believing you are not worthy. All of God’s children are worthy in His eyes. He didn’t send Jesus…His only son…for someone he didn’t love. He sent His son for you.
Let Him walk beside you during the hard times. Let his peace flow over you. I’m a believer in imagery. When I’m in the shower, I will often pray and imagine the water as the peace of God flowing down over my head. Crazy? Maybe. But it works.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
He loves you. He is with you. You are worthy.