We all see suffering in the world, at work, and in our personal lives. It is easy to ask “why” there is so much seemingly senseless suffering.
Recently I heard Alycia Wood from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries speak on this topic. She shared three essential points about what God says to us:
- Remember who I AM (Isaiah 44:6)
- Remember I AM here (Isaiah 41:10, 13)
- Remember I AM hope (Isaiah 48:17)
When Job in the Old Testament experienced great personal suffering, he wondered “why” for 30+ chapters of the book of Job. After a period of silence, God reminded Job of who he—God—is and what he has done. This reordered Job’s perspective and he was content with that. But God never let Job in on the “why” of suffering. Sometimes we just need to “be still and know that I AM God,” Psalm 46:10.
Sometimes knowing “why” is more than we need at the time. Alycia gave the example of a child falling off a bike and skinning a knee. If that child asked “Why?” a mother might say, “Well, your bike wheel hit a rock and then you fell because of gravity. Then the atoms in your skin split and some capillaries opened up and bled.” Would that explanation be helpful to the child? No! The child wants a hug and to be cared for and reassured that someone cares. When we suffer, someone cares and is present; God is there with us.
And suffering can result in good. Ultimately God wants to reunite broken people with their creator. Sometimes suffering gets our attention, making us pull closer to God. He provides promises for us to hold on to and offers hope for a future free of suffering.
How do we know God cares about our suffering? He can relate. No other god has scars.
Bonnie Hann, RN, BSN
NCF National Campus Staff Minister