Comfort in the Face of Suffering

October 16, 2008

There have been countless articles written on the subject of “Grief & Suffering.” I’m sure I’m not adding anything new, but I have read many things in the past that have provided me with the most comfort in dealing with the subject.

One helpful comment on the problem of suffering comes from the pen of an uninspired man recorded in W. C. Morro’s biography of J.W. McGarvey:

A grief stricken mother in Lexington, Kentucky, asked McGarvey, ‘Oh, brother McGarvey, where was God when my son was killed?’

McGarvey’s answer was immediate:  ‘Sister Yancy, he was just where he was when his own son was killed.’

It is hardly possible to live long on this earth without encountering some sort of heartbreak for which there seems no logical explanation.  In the face of such painful circumstances, Satan tempts us to doubt God’s love for us.  In Mark 9, a man whose son was possessed with a spirit since childhood asked Jesus’ disciples to cast out the spirit and they could not do it. He then pleaded with Jesus to cast it out.  In verse 22, the father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”  Jesus replied, “If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.”   In verse 24, the man cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief.”  I think we all fall into this man’s weak moment from time to time when our faith is tested. However, like the man, we have more faith than we give ourselves credit for on many occasions.

It will help us to remember that God, in the person of the Father, experienced the loss of his only begotten Son in completely unjust circumstances.  On the cruel cross, God assured us of his love for us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (NASB).  And by the same cross, he certified his intention to dry every tear after a few more days. “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him, freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, NASB).

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