When we read about early believers, their lives were anything but pain free. There was physical pain when Abraham, at 99, and Ishmael, at 13, were circumcised. There were years of emotional pain waiting for the promised Isaac and then suffering the consequences of Sarah’s impatience when she presented her servant, Hagar, to Abraham to bear a son.
We serve the same unchanging, immutable Father that they served and should we expect any better treatment? Sometimes we think that everything should roll along smoothly, just because we are Christians, but history does not bear this out. Job reprimanded his wife wanting to blame God for his problems with, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10).
In our everyday life we can expect to be confronted with pain, suffering and death. Our news feeds are full of stories of injustice and moral decay reminding us that this world is not the same as the world that God originally created. God declared everything was “good” after He had ordered all of creation (Gen. 1:31). It was created pleasant and agreeable, perfectly reflecting God’s glory, until man sinned and thereafter we have lived in a fallen world, full of evil, sickness, disease, death and suffering.
With sin in this world, and us inheriting the sin of Adam and Eve, we rightly inherit the consequences of a fallen world.
Nevertheless, when we trust in Jesus there is hope for God has promised to care for us in our pain and anguish. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
In our suffering God is ever present. He will never leave us – He will never fail or abandon us (Heb. 13:5). Turn to God in our suffering and distress and He will provide: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (Jas. 4:8).
It is in times of great distress that we can really feel the presence of our God and experience His unending faithfulness to us and that is one of the greatest blessings that we can experience this side of eternity.
*All quotes from NLT.