“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9:3 (NIV)
We all experience some difficult times. We all have gone through times of tragedy or loss. Are we to think that God does not see these painful situations? Are we to think they slipped past His awareness? Are we to think that He has a more sinister side and knowingly allows evil to slip in and ruin things? Or is it possible that He sees infinitely more than we do? Is it possible that the Creator of the Universe is smart enough to have come up with a plan for us? Although darkness has found its way into the mix, do we think God has found a Way to fix it? Do we think that the One Who carefully forms us, protects us and restores us again to Him, might also suffer when He sees our pain? Should we think it pains our loving Father to see His children oppressed, injured or slain? Could the One they call Love Itself, be earnestly longing to see us all safely home within His arms? Is this the kind of Father Jesus describes when He tells us of our Heavenly Heritage?
Jesus tells us that this pain came to pass not for some sad or cruel part of God. He says that a wonderful reward can come through this unpleasant experience. This poor man´s story did not have a sad ending. Although He experienced pain and suffering, the joy that was revealed far outweighs the discomfort of the former condition. What picture of God begins to form within us? Suffering men and women are healed, restored and saved as they draw closer to Him. Love, forgiveness and healing are poured out from His great heart. Long-suffering and merciful are the words used to describe Him. The closer we come to God the more love we are able to detect. Can we see God´s careful planning? Can we see He has found a Way to bring us into His warm embrace once again?
Nobody likes to suffer. We don´t like to think of other people´s suffering. But could we get it into our heads, like Jesus encourages, that somewhere inside of this pain is hidden a secret door to God? Somewhere within the suffering is a treasure far greater than any pain that we could ever experience. There is a Being so grand and so immeasurably wonderful waiting for us to find Him here. There is a bond that can be restored. There is a closeness which can be gained. It does not matter who the suffering individual is. We can all be directly or indirectly blessed by any difficult time. But to win our prize through each and every trial, a connection must be made. God´s children must come to Him. To see the work of God revealed within our lives, we must be willingly approach our Heavenly Father. What should we care how much it costs? If being with Him and seeing that He is free to live and work within our lives is the prize, then is this the highest hope of any true child of God? Shall we ask ourselves the question now, why is it we must suffer? Or shall we ask instead to be shown how wonderful the prize is, that could be awarded us through our times of pain?
Dear Jesus, we struggle to comprehend why we must endure suffering here on earth. But thank You for trying to help us see. Thank You for showing us that there is something more to be gained of God. Thank You for telling us that even our most painful moments could be used as a tool to help us gain more access to the Lord. Thank You that through our pain we can grow closer. Thank You for telling us that our suffering can help bring the Presence of God into our lives! Teach us to use these times to lean more completely on You we pray.