Why Do You Let Bad Things Happen?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
I wrote yesterday of how we can find comfort and peace in our heavenly father, despite our trials, struggles and fears. I’m always hesitant to write of such things, because I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. I know some of you have been through and are going through trials that I can’t imagine. In addition to that, the suffering I’ve experienced has largely been self-inflicted. So, it always feels a little presumptuous for me to approach the topic of your suffering.
In today’s passage though, Paul – who suffered more than most – provided the proper perspective on suffering. He chose to view the difficulties he went through here and now as nothing compared to the glory he would one day experience. He didn’t claim that his trials weren’t miserable. He didn’t say they made sense. He simply said that he chose the faith to accept that what will one day come – either in this life or in the next – will be so much better that he would eventually look back and realize that his suffering couldn’t compare.
That takes a lot of faith. We can know that God shapes us through our trials. We can believe that one day all of our hurts will be healed. But eternity seems so far away and in the midst of suffering, choosing faith is no small task. It is though, often only in our misery, that we truly learn dependence on God. It’s precisely when we’re most hopeless and helpless, that we learn to live by faith.
The problem for most of us, is that we think faith means that God will work things out according to our will, which usually means a happy ending here and now. Paul’s point, I think, is that there isn’t always a happy ending here on Earth. Bad things happen. Loved ones get sick and die. Friends overdose. Marriages fall apart and we’re not guaranteed an explanation or a solution in this life.
Paul’s explanation – and really the only way that the world makes sense – is that what we’re going through now cannot compare with what God has in store for his children one day. That takes a tremendous amount of faith to accept in midst of the suffering. If we desire this hope despite our trials though, then, Like Paul, we must daily choose to have faith in the eternal goodness of our father.