I don’t know why there is so much suffering in this world. And why disasters and tragedies have struck recently so close to each other. It feel overwhelming and too much for us to take. When sufferings caused by losses and destructions of hurricanes, earthquakes, and massacre, on top of the smaller tragedies that happen in the normal course of life as some people experience bad accidents, death from old age or disease, crimes out of desperation, and all kinds of other things that make life hard.
Recently, I was going to the airport and the taxi driver shared his story with me. He emigrated from a Middle Eastern country and had a decent life growing up, even a wealthy life, by average standards. Owned like 30-some houses as rental properties and he lost it all from economic downturns. Now he’s driving a taxi cab. Oh that’s got to be a hard transition.
I don’t know how some people can say that there is no suffering in the world. It’s quite obvious that there is in the physical realms and even in the mental health realm that’s less visible but just as much of a struggle and a suffering. Though, granted, it’s a different kind of pain than a broken bone or disease with physical symptoms.
I don’t know why a supposedly all-powerful God allows these terrible things to happen. Why are you holding back your power? Or maybe the world would be in even worse shape if you weren’t already using your power to restrain much of the evil in the wold, that is, the world could be much worse if it wasn’t for your power being used for goodness and grace. Hard to imagine, but possible. In other words, maybe a world without God would be even more chaotic and have even more suffering.
I wish the world could be better, with less pain and suffering. And I’m not alone in this. Many people do have some desire for world peace. There’s something to that. We don’t know how to go about getting there. And, the good people don’t want to or don’t know how to play the games of politics to affect change at that level.
There’s suffering, lots of suffering. And then there’s loss. Lots of people have lost a lot of things, lost loved ones, lost friends, lost their lives. It is so heavy and sad. Lots of people ask “why” out of reaction, but an explanation doesn’t really help. The loss is still real and painful. Knowing why is like a consolation prize. Knowing why does very little to recover the loss. Oh, God, why is it so painful?
And when people are pushed to the edge of overwhelming loss, questions of God’s existence or God’s benevolence arise. I think people either become bitter or better. People either grow closer to God or grow away from God. People don’t stay the same, when a loss is so great. The loss is so disorienting. People have to regroup their mind and emotions.
My prayer is that people would discover that faith is a helpful thing to have in these sad times. People can use all the help they can get, and if faith can help, don’t take it away from them. I don’t see how denying the existence of God can be helpful; but I know some people choose to go down that path.
Oh Lord have mercy.
I know when I went through my own struggles this year, I was desperate for any and all the help I could get. When I was at the end of myself, I could only cling on and remind myself of these good words (from Psalm 23) to get me through the day:
The Lord is my shepherd, I will not lack anything. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me by still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me to the path of righteousness for His name sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all of my days and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.