I am a new driver. It has been an interesting experience so far. One of my latest driving adventures was driving in the snow! The weather forecast on my phone showed that it would snow at 7.A.M the next day. Anticipating how difficult it would be to drive in the snow, I decided to hit the road 2 hours before it would snow. However, it started snowing earlier than anticipated and I was caught midway in a heavy snow storm. Going back was not an option so I decided to drive slowly. With just 5 minutes away from my destination, the snow storm became vigorous. At this point, I could not see anything in front of me. The roads became extremely slippery and my car went out of control. My car was in a mood to slide on the snow. I tried to turn left and my car turned right. All the science classes I ever took did not illustrate the importance of ‘friction’ as clearly as this near death experience did.
Now, before I proceed any further, I want to say that my understanding of this topic may be very limited. It is a topic that is always under debate. We may not find answers to all the pain and suffering that is in this world. But we can trust God in all circumstances. Before you trust any of my views or perceptions on this topic, I strongly encourage you to analyze it personally under the light of God’s word.
Friction in our lives is often disguised as pain and suffering. We as children of God suffer in various ways. Our constant battle against temptation, personal sin and broken relationships are few to be named. I personally feel that there are two categories of pain and suffering. First one is the consequence of sin. Adam and Eve’s fall led the whole mankind into different realms of pain and suffering. But sometimes, not all forms of suffering directly results from a specific sin. When Jesus healed a blind man, He explained to His disciples that the man’s blindness did not result from his or his parents’ sin, but God intended it to display His power through his healing. That is the second kind of pain and suffering that we might undergo.
God allows such circumstances in our life so that we are strengthened in our walk of faith. God lovingly disciplines His children to develop within them a “harvest of righteousness and peace” (Proverbs 3:11-12 & Hebrews 12:3-11). God’s response to human suffering is always tied to His son. God revealed His redemptive work through His Son, right alongside the fall of humanity. Peter called believers to rejoice in suffering because it represented their union with Christ the Savior. Paul’s response to suffering in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 reveals how God’s children intimately know His power, which is so much more wonderful than their own. No trial, tribulation, sin or enemy can separate a child of God from the Savior. Seasons of growth are most often connected with times of challenge. As, the friction on the road helps us drive forward on the road, God uses every situation to draw His children nearer to Him. The fact that God disciplines us through such circumstances is just a proof of the fact that we indeed belong to Him.
To expect that following Christ promises a comfortable and easy life does not align with the teaching of Scripture or the reality of personal experience. The abundant life Jesus promised is not free of trouble, but it is a life in which God is glorified as believers find His strength and even joy while in the midst of pain and suffering. The spiritual life of a God’s child flourishes through difficulty.
We cannot reduce God and His ways to fit into our limited human understanding. There are many legitimate, honest questions that cannot be fully answered by finite, fallen minds. God is often doing something bigger than we imagine that usually takes longer than we expect. The fact that we cannot fully understand it all drives us to find comfort in what we can know with certainty. So the next time when you would be put under the spotlight of pain and suffering, instead of squirming under God’s loving hand and blaming Him, recognise the opportunity to grow in your faith. So can you trust God even if the “why” behind your suffering remains a mystery?