Is God good when the outcome is not? During the famine as well as the feast? At some point we all stand at this intersection. The definitive answer comes in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the only picture of God ever taken. Do you want to know heaven’s clearest answer to the question of suffering? Look at Jesus.
Jesus Felt Pain
He pressed his fingers into the sore of the leper. He felt the tears of the sinful woman who wept. He inclined his ear to the cry of the hungry. He wept at the death of a friend. He stopped his work to tend to the needs of a grieving mother. He doesn’t recoil, run, or retreat at the sight of pain. Just the opposite. He didn’t walk the earth in an insulated bubble or preach from an isolated, germfree, pain-free island. He took his own medicine. He played by his own rules. Trivial irritations of family life? Jesus felt them. Cruel accusations of jealous men? Jesus knew their sting. A seemingly senseless death? Just look at the cross. He exacts nothing from us that he did not experience himself.
Why? Because he is good.
God owes us no more explanation than this. Besides, if he gave one, what makes us think we would understand it? Might the problem be less God’s plan and more our limited perspective? Out of all his creation, how much have we seen? And of all his work how much do we understand? Only a sliver. A doorway peephole. Is it possible that some explanation for suffering exists of which we know nothing at all
And is it possible that the wonder of heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain? This was Paul’s opinion. “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
Pain Won't Last Forever
Suppose I invited you to experience the day of your dreams. Twenty-four hours on an island paradise with your favorite people, food, and activities. The only stipulation: one millisecond of discomfort. For reasons I choose not to explain, you will need to begin the day with the millisecond of distress.
Would you accept my offer? I think you would. A split second is nothing compared to twenty-four hours. On God’s clock you’re in the middle of your millisecond. Compared to eternity, what is seventy, eighty, ninety years? Just a vapor. Just a finger snap compared to heaven.
Your pain won’t last forever, but you will. “Whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us” (Romans 8:18, Phillips).
What is coming will make sense of what is happening now. Let God finish his work. Let the composer complete his symphony. The forecast is simple. Good days. Bad days. But God is in all days. He is the Lord of the famine and the feast, and he uses both to accomplish his will.
Excerpted from You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado. ©2013. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. www.thomasnelson.com.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Andre Hunter
Max Lucado is a pastor in San Antonio and the author of Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World.