I’ve learned that often one can make suffering worse by trying to give a reason for it.
Lately, we’ve all been witnessing some devastating things in our world. From violent attacks in war, to violent attacks in weather. People are suffering great pain and loss and many are trying their best to survive. Children have been left without families. Families have been left without homes. And it feels like much of the world has been left without any signs of hope.
During times like these, people are often seeking answers. They are looking for reasons why something would leave people in harm’s way and why there is so much hurt and desolation in our world.
It’s usually during times like this, where someone gets on the television and begins to share their views on why bad things happen.
“It’s because God is angry!” some will shout. “Because of the sins in our world, God has come to smite people and devastate the areas where certain sins are more prevalent than other places!”
Or we hear, “It’s because of the foreigner! The stranger! It’s because we allowed people in that shouldn’t be allowed in!”
“It’s because of that person!” It’s because of those things!” It’s because of them!”
Whatever the catastrophe, it seems that someone is always willing to give an exact reason for the cause and blame someone else for it.
It can be very natural to find someone or something to blame. A very primal instinct in us all causes us to protect ourselves and we look for things to protect ourselves from. But sometimes, finding a villain is not the best way to solve a problem or to heal from heartbreak.
As a pastor, I have often been asked to explain why terrible things happen in our world and I often find myself giving the most honest answer I can. “I don’t know.”
Sometimes I could discuss things like anger and insecurities being behind some violent acts and environmental irresponsibility leading to some environmental problems. I could talk about the book of Genesis and the fall of mankind, but that isn’t always the comfort being sought by someone that has just lost everything.
The truth is, sometimes people aren’t really searching for answers because they know the answer is very so often impossible to find.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is, not look for a reason, but rather look for ways we can help with the healing.
I personally do not believe that God is the cause of our pain and suffering. No more than I could see myself wanting to cause pain and misery to my own child. I just don’t think love is like that.
I do see God in the healing. I do see God, not in the problems, but in the solutions. I do see God smiling when we smile and hurting when we are hurt. I do think that is what love is.
I do see God in our world working through people in our world.
In recent days, I have seen people putting together care packages and opening their homes to strangers.
I have seen large containers of food being sent throughout the country and overseas.
I have seen people of different cultures finding how much they have in common with each other.
I have seen people protecting the dignity of others.
I have seen laughter in times of remedy.
I have seen people helping.
I have seen healing.
I have witnessed hope.
I do believe I have witnessed the love of Jesus Christ.
The one that knows this world and all of its suffering.
The one that lost everything so that we could gain eternity.
The one that is not in the hurt, but knows the hurt.
The one that is in the healing.
I do not know all the reasons for our sufferings.
But I do know the reasons for our healing.
-Pastor Trever Rook