We will all endure times of suffering and mourning. There will be days where we feel overwhelmed by the effects of sin, and we will be tempted to doubt God’s goodness. It is precisely in these moments that we need to look for His goodness in big and small ways.
Through the tears, we can confess to God that the pain is too great to praise Him! Yet, as the very words tumble through my mind, the Spirit reminds me of God’s promises of Revelation 21.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
We can trust God to keep every promise. He will do all that He has said He will do. These promises are good and I can praise Him that one day, there will be no more “death or mourning or crying or pain.” I can praise Him that “it is done.” He has completed the work of redemption. We must now await His perfect timing to destroy this earth and bring us into the new heavens and new earth.
Pain and sorrow can make us want to blame someone. It can be easier to blame God for the terrible things that touch our lives rather than accepting the fact that the world is marred by sin. In our pain, we can ask God to show us His goodness. He will open our eyes to reveal His faithfulness to us. In my experience, He does this in innumerable small (seemingly insignificant) ways that could be easily overlooked or dismissed. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in the words of a friend, in the timing of the terrible news, in the remembrance of God’s Word that suddenly flooded my mind, and in peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). God’s ways are infinite and beyond our understanding. He knows what each of us needs to be comforted and HE IS ABLE to meet you just where you are today.
Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.”
Psalm 138:1, 3, 6-8 1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. 8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.
See also Psalms 139, 141, 142, 147.
Pain and suffering do not negate God’s goodness. In reality, they point to it. Pain and suffering are effects of sin. God is without sin and completely separate from it. Only in Him can we find the comfort that our souls long for. Only in Him can we experience redemption from the sin that permeates our broken world.
He is our hope and salvation and refuge in times of need (Psalm 25:5; 62:5-8; 91:2).
My plea for those who are suffering is this: pour it all out to the Lord. Tell Him that you are angry. Tell Him that you’re afraid. Tell Him that you’re overwhelmed with sorrow, and your heart is broken. He can take it. What’s amazing is that He wants to take it. And once you’ve poured out your heart to Him, pause. Wait there for Him to comfort you as only He can. Trust Him to give you what you need for that moment.