Beliefnet
Next Steps

Because we live in a fallen world, pain and suffering are unavoidable for us as humans. If you’d like to wrestle with the question of why bad things happen to good people, read here. If you’d like to explore how the Apostle Peter reconciled a good God with pain and suffering, read here. For this post, I want to give you four next steps if you’re currently walking through painful trials:

 

1. Know that God grieves with you. When a child is hurt, you naturally grieve with them. Even when they do something to hurt themselves and it’s their fault, you still grieve with them. What about when you allow something to happen to your child that causes them pain? Don’t you still grieve with them? God is a good, loving Heavenly Father and God grieves with you when you hurt.

 

2. Seek the purpose behind the pain. Instead of assuming God can’t be good because there is pain and suffering in the world, a better question would be: what’s the purpose behind it all? I counseled with a father years ago who left his adult son in jail for weeks when he could have bailed him out because he needed his son to understand the full weight of the consequences of his poor life choices, or he would never change. The son couldn’t fully understand it at the time, but there was a greater purpose behind the pain his father was allowing him to go through.

 

3. Cling to the cross. My youngest son is at the age where he’s testing boundaries, and every once in a while he needs discipline and even a spanking. There are times when I intentionally inflict pain on him through a spanking for a greater purpose, to teach him, to correct him, to warn him against doing something worse that could bring him greater harm.

Whenever I have to spank him, it brings tears to his eyes, and his first instinct, without even thinking, is to hug me. Even though I seem to be the cause of his pain, he needs to know that I still love him. When we walk through trials, when we see evil all around us and we can’t compute, it shouldn’t drive us farther away, it should drive us closer to God. We need to embrace him and know that he still loves us. So, if you ever doubt God’s love for you, look to the cross. Don’t sanitize it. Don’t whitewash it. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the pain and suffering Jesus went through, and know that your sins are what caused it, and know that God loved you so much, he still sent Jesus to die on the cross for you. Any time you doubt God’s love for you, look to the cross.

 

4. Look ahead to the day when pain will cease. Sometimes life just stinks. That’s why the apostle Peter pointed Christians to heaven. There will be a day when pain will cease. As much pain and evil as we see in the world, it is temporary. This world is not our home. We’re going to a better place, and in that we can rejoice!

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