Cancer is never fair, but it seems especially cruel when it strikes a child.
Deborah, a mother, brought her two-year-old son David to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital a few years ago. There, a pediatric oncologist named Dr. John Truman informed them that David had leukemia and provided a devastating prognosis: David had “a 50-50 possibility of making it through this.”
After that, there were a lot of visits, with blood tests, scans, shots, and intravenous drugs. Through everything, David won’t ever cry. Even though his “friends” at the clinic had to pierce him with needles and give him painful treatments, David always ran into the clinic before his mother, smiling at the celebrity welcome he always got from the nurses.
David had a spinal tap, which is a painful procedure at any age, but especially when you are three. Deborah advised him, “If it hurts, remember that it is because Dr. Truman loves you and wants you to get better.”
The process was terrible. It took three attendants to keep David still as he hollered, wailed, and battled.
After is was over, the little boy gasped as he looked at his doctor, drenched in tears and sweat and said, “Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for hurting me.” He understood that the pain brought hope and help for his future. He hurt David to care for him.
Our Perspective on Suffering Matters
One must have a child’s faith and a lion’s strength to overcome difficulties. Whatever suffering God permits in our life, we seldom pivot to say, “Thank you, O Lord, for permitting me torment.” However, Paul and Peter, the apostles, stated that trials reveal our true character (see James 1 or Romans 4). Our faith in God is tested when we suffer: “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:3).
You probably have a trial coming up right now that you would rather avoid. If not, you either have previously or will fin the future. Life is loaded with conditions that test our endurance and stretch our confidence.
The universal equalizer of all humans is suffering. Regardless of pay, ubiquity, or status, each individual in each culture will encounter agony and misfortune.
Our souls ponder: Does suffering occur because God cannot prevent it? He will not prevent it? Doesn’t He need to stop it? Does our bad behavior cause suffering? Is it inevitable to suffer? What does God believe that I should do while I’m languishing?
A few common misbeliefs are that God is either feeble or underhanded, lacking resources to stop our pain. According to some religions, we experience suffering because we receive what we deserve, either in this life or the past. Some believe that God is either punishing us or allowing us to receive what we expect. Legalistic Christians will generally say that enduring happens in light of the fact that we sin; on the off chance that we acted better, we would experience less.
The Gospel’s Answer for Anguish
While it very well may be hard to understand how a decent, loving, all-powerful God could permit insidious suffering, the Cross of Jesus Christ is a definitive response to the world’s sufffering.
In two ways, the Cross of Christ gives us a New Perspective on suffering:
First, we learn from Jesus Christ’s Cross that sin brought our suffering. Christ could never have expected to come to Earth if God’s unique design for purity, holiness, and obedience had stayed the course. At the dawn of mankind, God made a spot called “Eden”— a paradise with unhindered access to God. The world was free of suffering and pain.
However, when the first humans sinned against God, they were driven out of this paradise and removed from God. From then on, sin became ingrained in man’s nature and the world. We wouldn’t have needed Jesus if this hadn’t happened. The very reality that He came confirms that God considered our transgression to merit worldly and everlasting misery. The only way out of this hopeless situation was for God Himself to step in and give His Son on our behalf.
Second, the Cross of Jesus Christ demonstrates to us that God has a plan for relieving our pain. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead, God overcame evil and prevented eternal separation from Him. God realized we would suffer, and He cherished us enough to set up an answer to our problem of sin and pain by providing Christ.
Tim Keller, a pastor, and author, says, “Christianity teaches that contrary to fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; Buddhism contends that suffering is real; Suffering is often unfair contrary to karma; However, suffering has meaning in secularism. It has a purpose, and if we face it correctly, it can drive us deeper into God’s love and into greater stability and spiritual power than you can imagine. The Cross of Jesus Christ remains as an update that God has an answer and reason in our torment.”
If anyone had the ability to inquire, “Why would a good God permit suffering?” It was Paul the Apostle. He was locked up multiple times; lashed a greater number of times than he could count; faced peril; beaten with poles; whipped; endured being stoned; was sunk three times by ships; was burglarized; furthermore, was frequently eager, parched, without rest, chilly, exposed, and restless (2 Corinthians 11:26-33). We would ask, “How is he still alive?” if we saw a man like this on the news. Yet Paul was living and serving others in a joyful and hopeful manner at all times!
In his letter to the congregation in Rome, he supported his enduring by saying, “For I consider that the sufferings of right now are not worth contrasting with the brilliance that is with be uncovered to us” (Romans 8:18).
While our enduring isn’t equivalent to Paul’s, we know about agony, misfortune, and even abuse throughout everyday life. How could he say his enduring was “not worth contrasting with the brilliance with be uncovered”?
Diseases like Merz, Ebola, and COVID-19 abound in our world. Millions of people were murdered by dictators like Stalin and Hitler, who were evil. Fires, floods, and other natural disasters appear to strike frequently. And what about rape, the Me-Too movement, and physical abuse? Or, on the other hand, the awfulness of 9-11, or the psychological oppression of ISIS and terrorism? How is glory to be compared to all of this evil?
Is Paul implying that the glory of Jesus Christ can even begin to compete with all those terrible things?
Yes. Paul is making a size examination: The magnitude of God’s glory in Christ is being compared to the magnitude of our emotions and pain. Envision making a hill of our misery, all our aggravation stacked up. Something of the size of Mount Everest would result! That mountain, on the other hand, pales in comparison to the glory of Christ that will one day be revealed to us. If His glory dwarfs the terrible suffering we experience on Earth, how stupendous must it be? Thusly, we can reason that the magnificence of Christ eclipses any aggravation of any kind or size in our life.
Even though God is working on a reward and magnitude greater than our pain, we still question His goodness when we look at our own suffering and pain.
Assuming that we tell the truth, amidst our aggravation, we play the “if by some stroke of good luck” game with God.
This sentiment was also prevalent during Jesus’ time, as evidenced by John 11:1-43:
“If only You were there,”
“if only You would have stopped this,”
“if only You were good and truly powerful.”
Jesus served in another town when his companion, Lazarus, became ill. Mary and Martha, his sisters, told Jesus to come and heal him, but Jesus didn’t. He stayed where He was for two more days.
At the point when He at long last arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus was greeted by both of his sisters, who expressed similar sentiments to our own: If by some stroke of good luck, You had been here! You could have alleviated this suffering if you had listened and shown kindness.
And are you aware of Jesus’ response? Remarkably unconventionally.
Jesus reframed their thinking rather than answering their questions. Jesus stated in John 11:25–26, “I am the life and the resurrection.” Even if they die, those who believe in me will still live, and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you trust this?”
He didn’t play the “if by some stroke of good luck” game. He did not respond to the fundamental inquiry of the sisters: How could He allow this to occur if He is good? He appears to ignore it instead because it is the incorrect question.
Rather than asking, “How could God permit this?” They ought to have asked, “What is God doing here?” Jesus constantly gives us hope of the eternal weight of glory that awaits on the other side of death, both in their case and ours. He accomplishes this by reorienting our perspective through our suffering.
Quite a long time ago, Youth baseball and football trainers were more forceful than they are today. They could bring a child to the sidelines, grab his helmet, and say, “Look at me! Observe me!
In a similar manner, Jesus was saying to Mary and Martha, “Look at Me!,” while grabbing their helmets. Don’t you check out at your misfortune or your anguish. Concentrate on Me.
He does the same for us as well. He declares, “I am the resurrection and the life!” in our suffering. Whoever has faith in me will always live! John 11:25).
Although you may believe that your current suffering will end your life, it won’t. Jesus will win eventually! Observe Him! Keep your eyes on Him. He is preparing you for something far more significant than the immense suffering you are going through.
Picking the Right Reaction
Regarding experiencing in our lives, we are left with two choices: Put your faith in God or be tough. We deny God’s power and an opportunity to work in us through it if we choose just to smile and bear it. Christians are aware that relying on oneself is counterproductive. The best choice is always to put your faith in God.
God’s perspective on our suffering, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6–18, is that it is brief and fleeting. Paul’s inconveniences were, obviously, neither light nor passing in themselves. However, the heaviness of the and timeless brilliance they were accomplishing for him was far more noteworthy than the aggravation he encountered.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Suffering in this life is allowed by a loving God because He is preparing us for an incomparable weight of glory in eternity through it. Enduring uncovers our contaminations and questions. In a sense, we can only understand that God is good through suffering. We can learn more about Him only by allowing ourselves to suffer through the pain.
Therefore, rather than asking, “Why would a good God permit suffering?” Let’s reframe our thoughts to say, “How loving of God to allow me to suffer, and therefore know Him and prepare me for the weight of glory” instead.
The right inquiry isn’t “The reason would you say you are permitting this, God?” however, “God, what are you trying to develop in me?”