I’m currently doing an on-line Bible study over Timothy Keller’s book, The Reason for God.
The title of Chapter 2 is “How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?”
How timely this is in light of our devastating tornadoes here in Oklahoma this week.
As an adoptive parent, I always think of the plight of the orphan when I think of suffering.
When I think of suffering and beauty rising from ashes, I am reminded of the redemptive plan of adoption, and I think of Joseph (Gen 30-50)…and Jesus.
It is a natural tendency to ask “Why?” when tragedy strikes. Many times I’ve heard, “How could that happen to her? She’s such a good person!”
In all the suffering that Joseph endured, his response was more like, “How can I most glorify God in light of my present circumstances?” He didn’t pout or whine. He grew through affliction. Clearly, human hands meant harm for Joseph, repeatedly. But God had other plans. Joseph had dreams, but he couldn’t see the future to know he would ultimately rule Egypt.
When it comes to ‘good,’ there is no one better than Jesus! He was beaten and murdered on a cross. If there is one person who is ‘good enough’ to escape tragedy, it is Jesus!
And so…if God was willing to take such suffering upon Himself, I recognize that I am not exempt from pain and suffering. In my limited vision I cannot always see the meaning, but in my tiny faith I know He will be glorified.
The most painful thing I’ve endured was when someone very close to me rejected the idea of us adopting the first time, and then rejected our child. Rejection came in the form of hurtful words and actions, spoken in front of our child. I tried to blow it off; I tried to extend grace; I tried talking it out. Ultimately, in an effort to protect all my children from such hatred, I gave an ultimatum: stop the hatred or you can no longer see my family. Heartbreak followed the pain. Within a few months, I was so convicted of turning my back on this person. Of course, I didn’t feel my children needed to be exposed to the pain, but I did believe I had walked out on my promise to God: to be a witness for Him and love the unlovely. I made a surprise visit, alone, to see this person to begin the restoration process. Oh.my.goodness, it was hard. But I was reminded of how much grace God extends to me, moment by moment. All the hurt I cause Him, and He patiently pursues me, flaws and all.
Within months, our relationship was fully restored, this person very dear to me apologized and loved all my children. And 5 years ago, this person accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. To God be glory!!!