I was talking to another pastor the other day and he was telling me about a woman in his church who had just learned that she has a tumor. She had so many questions and so may thoughts running through her head and he struggled to explain to her the idea of pain and suffering and how God uses those things for good. He talked about the way the world works and, mostly, he prayed with her.
As a pastor, I know what pain and suffering are all about. I have seen them and I have felt them. I know how to talk about a kind of suffering that brings strength and endurance. I understand how sin has resulted in a broken world that has produced disease and death. But let’s be real. Nobody wants a theology lesson from their pastor when they are suffering.
It’s one thing to read about suffering as an idea but it’s a whole different story when you are the one who has the tumor. Albert Mohler said it like this: “Sin explains the tumor, but it does not explain ‘Why me, why now?’ Sin explains the death, but it does not explain ‘Why me, why now?’ Sin explains the miscarriage, but it does not explain ‘Why me, why now?’”
We want answers when we are broken. We want to be comforted when we are hurting; consoled when we suffer loss.
Over the next couple of days, I think it might be good to take some time to explain some of the reasons we go through these tough times and how we should deal with them when they are upon us. This won’t be easy for some of us but it will be exactly what others will need to hear.
2 Corinthians 4:6
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”