I realize that I have never really posted much pertaining to the title of this blog, but I plan to start doing that some. So if there are any readers out there who maybe aren't believers in God or who are trying to figure out the purpose in their own personal suffering...this one is for you! And even if you are a believer, I think you might find this encouraging when facing trials :)
Randy Alcorn has written a great book entitled "If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil". I have been slowly making my way through this 500 page book. Each page is filled with such great insight it takes some time, so you will probably read more posts and quotes taken from this book in the future. Many people believe that if God is real or good then there wouldn't be any suffering in the world. Suffering, whether it be physical, emotional, relational, financial, or whatever, seems to be pointless to a lot of people. Just random, chance occurrences that happen to "good" people. Randy Alcorn argues that suffering is not pointless. We often think we know what God should do in a specific situation, but we are not all knowing or all loving like God is.
Alcorn says, "We might think a good and all-powerful God should disarm every shooter and prevent every drunk driver from drinking, driving, or crashing. But if God did that, this wouldn't be a real world in which people make consequential choices. It wouldn't be a world of character development and faith building, or a world where family members put their arms around one another to face life's difficulties together." He also says, "The experience of suffering may cause us to long for God to complete his redemptive plan for this world. It may cause us to grieve over the human rebellion that caused suffering. If it does those things, then it is not pointless."
Have you ever thought about it like that? If that horrible stomach virus you got last year that caused you not to be able to go on a mission trip where you might be able to share truth of Jesus with hundreds of people caused you to long for heaven more then it was worth it?! Or if the end of a relationship that seemed to be headed for marriage caused you to long for God more than a spouse then the relationship itself wasn't pointless?! Or if your lifelong battle with chronic illness causes a family member to pray like never before and grow closer to the Lord, then your pain had a purpose?! Or if the loss of a job that causes your family to suffer as well brings you to faith in Jesus then praise God you lost your job, right?!
Now this of course never undermines the difficulty of our suffering, but it sure does give me hope. Wow, God is so good!