“Why did this happen?” My nine-year-old son’s question echoed my thoughts as he snuggled next to me in our oversized arm chair.
His teacher had crushed his world that day. I later learned many students struggled under the new teacher. But my son was the first casualty—at least that I knew about.
I held Brant and silently asked God for help. His gentle whisper resonated. “I’m for Brant.”
Aloud I said, “I don’t know why this happened. But I do know God is for you.”
Decades later, I still don’t know why my sensitive son had to deal with some awful teachers. I count three who could have walked out of Oliver Twist’s workhouse. What I do know: today Brant enjoys a close relationship with Christ.
God didn’t spare my son from pain, but His gentle assurance, “I’m for Brant,” softened our pain with peace.
God Is for Me
Maybe you’ve heard people ask, “If God is good, then why do bad things happen to good people?” Perhaps you’ve wondered, “If God loves me, why did He allow this to happen?”
Paul asked another question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31 NIV).
Paul knew that bad things happened to many good people in the Scriptures. He knew this world is not our home. And He trusted a big God to write a good story.
The Lord used the struggles of His people to showcase His glory to a dying world. Even today we know that God uses trials to make His people whole or “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4 NASB).
Old Testament Examples
- Job: Job lost his wealth, children, servants, home, and health — including his ability to work. Chapter one says why Job suffered—because he was blameless and upright (Job 1:8). But Job didn’t know why. Neither did his friends.
His friends believed God wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to good people. They urged him to confess his secret sins. When bad things happen, like Job’s friends, we often wonder what’s wrong with us. Sometimes we wonder what’s wrong with God.
- Joseph: Some of Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him. Another one wanted to rescue him. But the Lord had other plans. A caravan that bought slaves just happened to pass by while the brothers argued. You see, God had handpicked Joseph to play a major role in His story (Ps. 105:16-24). Suffering honed his character and leadership skills for God’s big assignment (Rom. 5:3-4).
- Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: God allowed a wicked pagan king to capture these faithful youths. Their losses showcased God’s glory to several pagan kings (Dan. 2:46-49; 3:28-30).
Loss and suffering are real. But the glory that comes from our pain rings through eternity. How many souls arriving in heaven line up to thank the brave men and women whose faithfulness encouraged them to persevere through their own dark days?
Trusting Our Father in Suffering
Are you suffering unfair treatment or loss? Remember, God is for you. He sent His Son to rescue you. Focus on His faithfulness instead of on the unfairness of your suffering (Rom. 8:35-39). Perhaps, like Paul, Job, and Joseph, your suffering shows you’re doing something right.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever (2 Cor. 4:17-18 NLT).
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