A number of times through my illness this question has risen up from the depths of my heart: why does my Lord allow pain and suffering when He is in control and could take it all away? Why must innocent people suffer, especially little children? Why must those I love suffer? Why must I walk through heart rending pain and suffering that is seemingly endless. Only those who have experienced pain – real pain – know how terrible it is. It is like a monster that slowly eats away at you. It is like a prison that you are bound and kept in and unable to escape from. It drains all your strength, makes rest impossible, and when you are in it you want nothing more than to be out of it. There seems at times nothing good in it at all, and at times my heart cries out why does my good and loving God allow me to walk through this? Why pain Lord?
I do not have an answer. I believe it is one of those mysteries hidden with the Lord. But perhaps it would be to lift my eyes to Calvary and draw me nearer to the One who suffered there for me… suffered more pain than I can even imagine. I admit that I do not often like thinking of the pain He endured. My flesh shrinks from pain and my heart fears more pain… perhaps greater pain. Yet gazing on Calvary reminds me that my Saviour understands. Yes, He knows pain and is therefore able to sympathize (ah that sounds like far too weak a word!) and identify with my pain. Though my pain is nothing compared to His, He knows what it feels like because He has been there. Oh how that thought comforts my heart! He is the perfect Comforter.
He suffered terribly to purchase my salvation. But why then need suffering be the way of salvation? Again I do not know. All of these questions, all of these “I don’t understands” must all be wrapped up in trust. I love these precious words by Amy Carmichael:
“What does the child do whose mother or father allows something to be done which it cannot understand? There is only one way of peace. It is the child’s way. The loving child trusts… The faith of a child rests on the character it knows. So may ours; so shall ours. Our Father does not explain, nor does He assure us as we long to be assured… But we know our Father. We know His character… There is only one place where we can receive, not an answer to our question, but peace – that place is Calvary. An hour at the foot of the cross steadies the soul as nothing else can. ‘O Christ beloved, Thy Calvary stills all our questions.’ Love that loves like that can be trusted about this.”
This quote, taken from Rose from Brier, was tremendously encouraging to me when I read it. It came as an encouraging reminder that love that loved enough to go to the cross can be fully trusted even now, even in this. What greater proof do I need of His love than Calvary? If He loved me enough to go though such terrible pain for me, will He not also love me through this lesser pain which He so deeply understands? If He spared not Himself out of love, will He not also out of that same love continue to freely give me all that His goodness can bestow? Ah, yes indeed!
And can I not trust such love even when I am in pain, when those I love are suffering, and I don’t understand why God doesn’t take it away? Yes, I choose to trust His love. I choose to trust His heart which is good and longs to give good things. I choose to rest in who He is, nestled deep in everlasting arms. I choose to rest like a child and trust.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalms 9:10