Suffering. The inescapable theme in all of today’s readings. Different times, different people, different causes.
The horrors of war:
“My eyes fail from weeping,
I am in torment within,
My heart is poured out on the ground
Because my people are destroyed,
Because children and infants faint
In the streets of the city.” Lamentations 2:11
The misery of captivity in enemy country:
“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
When we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1
The persecution for following Christ:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1
Now I am certainly no authority on suffering and am not qualified to write anything about the subject. I can barely read an account of a martyr – I want to look away. I’ve read the story of Corrie Ten Boom and simply do not have the capacity to fully grasp the horror or her courage.
Although these are not the type of scripture that I like to read, I see purpose in them. These passages cause me to cry out to God. They cause my heart to ache. I lament along with the authors. From the depths of my soul, I ask God the hard questions.
I believe it is okay to ask God hard questions: “Why are people so cruel? Why do You allow children to starve? Why are Your followers unjustly harmed for doing good?”
In asking God these types of questions, I do not believe I am questioning the authority of God. In fact, I am confirming His very nature. I am acknowledging that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and holy.
And in asking Him hard questions, I am seeking is a deeper relationship with Him.
Dear Lord, I know from experience and from my study of Your Word, that you are a loving God. In fact, you are Love. You hurt when your people hurt. Provide comfort to all that are suffering today. Open my eyes and soften my heart so that I may offer comfort to someone today who is hurting. Amen