Suffering comes in all forms and varying degrees and the Bible has much to say about suffering and how to respond to it. When suffering surpasses our natural abilities to cope, we begin to ask profound theological questions about God, his character, his power and his control over and design of this world.
If God is good and powerful then why am I suffering?
What did I do to deserve this?
How can God do this to me?
How can a good God allow this to happen to me?
If God is so good, why am I handicapped?
After all I’ve done doesn’t God owe me a pain free life?
What if in the midst of your suffering someone tells you, “The Lord is all you have, and he really is enough”? I would have a hard time hearing that from most people. While I intellectually believe that to be true, to be able to experience that in the midst of profound suffering is something altogether different. Those words can seem empty and disconnected from my reality.
Many of the above questions were asked by Vaneetha Rendall Riser. Vaneetha spoke at a Redeemer women’s retreat a couple of years ago and has some family and friend connections to our church. Vaneetha also wrote this,
Although I had a loving community, nothing in my life could really hold me up. No distractions. No hobbies. No relief. The Lord was all I had. And I found he really was enough.
I’m grateful for my suffering, because through it God has transformed me and made me love him even more.
They are not cotton candy Bible pills to be swallowed for immediate relief. These are deep truths that became an experiential reality forged in the furnace of immense suffering.
I would encourage those of you who are in the midst of suffering to read her article below and know you are not alone in your suffering. Jesus is with you as he has been with his people since creation. For those of you who are not suffering now, I would urge you to read this article to help lay a foundation and defense for the day when suffering comes calling on your life.
I am thankful for Vaneetha’s faithful witness to God’s loving faithfulness in the midst of suffering.