The other day I was visiting a children’s hospital. They specialize in the maladies that beset the young among us. I witnessed a site I had never seen before. Here was a tiny girl, maybe three or four. I was hard to tell because her legs were malformed. They were short and crooked. She was walking with a tiny walker. You could see her strain to walk as she took each step. Mother was on her side, smiling and encouraging her along.
What was my biggest problem that day? The satellite guy was replacing my aged receivers and I wanted to make sure they got the order right. In the several minutes I talked on the phone with the technician, the little girl move approximately twenty feet. About what you and I would cover in a few seconds.
The problem I had that day diminished to nothing in comparison to her struggle. Hers was just beginning. I heard an old saying that goes like this. “I complained to God that I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” But what if your problems were as severe as some we may meet along life’s journey? What then?
Explaining why bad things happen to good people is a difficult subject to broach with someone. We try to explain that God has a reason for everything, but that sometimes does not assuage the pain of the sufferer. I think the event that helped me to explain why this happens is one where three gospel preachers were in the midst of setting up a radio station in the Caribbean to share the gospel. On one of their survey trips their plane slammed into the side of the mountain killing all three. We wonder why God would allow three people who were dedicated to doing His will would be allowed to suffer that fate. I know I wondered.
I finally put it together after years of study. It is as simple as this. This is the world that sin has made. Think about it. Adam and Eve lived in the idyllic paradise that God controlled. He had close communion with the two. Their lack of faith and disobedience caused our relationship with God to turn from friend to enemy. Yes, Jesus came to bring peace between humankind and God through His sacrifice, but we still sin and that still causes a division between us and God. We will overcome that when we leave this life, but like the faithful Israelites who were carried away into captivity with the rest of the Israelites by the Babylonians, they were in the same boat. Today, the faithful suffer just as the wicked do. Some suffering is beneficial as noted in James 1:2, but we don’t wish it on anyone or ourselves.
Now, I’m not saying that God does not take some when the time is right and allow some to continue on because of some reason, but there is no doubt that the line from Night of the Hunter is true. “The world is hard on little things” and as such we see the suffering around us.
So where does that leave you and me? Those whose problems and issues are few and manageable. Well, first of all, take a long look at what you are going through and see how it compares to what others in this world have to endure. Not so bad? Good, but just remember our time is coming and then forget it. Today has enough trouble of its own without thinking about what the future holds. With your strength, lift those who are less fortunate and need a helping hand. Let them see Jesus in your actions and comfort them in their need.
Suffering in our life and others are opportunities to show others our faith and share our faith with others. God’s power is magnified through our weakness. Just as Paul. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Jesus informed him that His power is magnified through the weak and that His grace is sufficient. He was letting Paul know that his weakness reminded him who has the power to forgive and after all despite all our problems and issues, isn’t that the greatest gift we have. That someone like me who is powerless to sin and weak can find salvation and strength through the Cross. No matter how sick and weak I become, I still have that and what more can we desire in life. When you put it like that, our problems do seem smaller because the blessings are so great. Peter took his eyes off Jesus in the raging storm and saw the problem. He should have focused only on the solution
We may wish we could make that little girl whole and I hope God and the technology available will make her life easier, but we’re limited in what we can physically do for her. However, someday someone may give her the greatest gift one can give to another, the Gospel. It is the greatest gift in my life. The most important gift I ever received. The gift of love that causes me to love Him each and every day. The gift that transcends all of life’s issues and problems, both large and small. The gift that keeps me worshiping Him out of love and not obligation. That mindset keeps the problems and issues in my life growing smaller in the rear view mirror as I march forward towards God.
Kenneth Morvant Minister and Christian sci-fi author
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