Why do we suffer? This question has peeked my curiosity more than ever as it hits close to home. For the past year and a half, my mother has suffered from Lyme Disease. Battling this disease has been the biggest adversity she’s faced. Through all the battling, the disease almost left her body. As of late, she has been doing very well, but right when she thought she saw light at the end of the tunnel, she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease again! The disease she fought so hard to overcome has infected her again. My mom loves the Lord, loves people and has a heart of gold. Despite all that, suffering has not passed her by. It has stopped by her side and stayed with her. Why is this? Why do we suffer?
This blog isn’t meant to give a profound theological answer in response to this question. In fact, it’s just the opposite. My answer to the question is this: I don’t know why we suffer. I wish I could sit down with my mother and tell her why she is suffering, but I can’t.
Suffering is real. There are times when it seems like you can’t take anymore, but then life hits you one more time. You feel like you’ve hit your limit; you can’t keep going because you have no gas left in the tank. In times like this, what are we to do? 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we are to “walk by faith, not by sight.” How do we walk by faith? The first step is accepting that we don’t know why suffering happens, but we don’t need to know.
It’s all about perspective. God is Creator and we are the created. He knows our entire storyline; we only know the Storyteller. Sometimes I think it would be nice to jump ahead a few chapters in my life and see what my life would look like. If I could see the future, I would be trusting in my knowledge rather than putting trust in God. Trusting in God becomes a response to not knowing the future. Not knowing the future is scary, but it is beneficial because it gives us opportunities to trust in a sovereign God. It allows us to walk by faith rather than by sight.
I hope you can find joy in the fact and truth of God rather than being derailed by the emotions of your surrounding circumstances. In the midst of a spiritually, emotionally and physically difficult journey, there is joy to be had. Joy isn’t a feeling that is dependent on circumstances, but a hope found in the unchanging, perfect character of God. Joy says “I may not understand why I am suffering, but I know I serve a God who is sovereign, loving, with me and for me.”
So, why do we suffer? I don’t know, but I do know God is sovereign. I know He loves us and is for us at all times. Suffering is powerful, but even the worst of sufferings don’t compare to the majesty of who God is. He is bigger, greater and more powerful than any difficult thing we will ever face. Our emotions will say otherwise, but hold on to the truth of God is. There is joy to be had when we put our faith in His character rather than putting faith in what we can see.