August 18, 2020
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15a, NIV 1984).
I was blessed to sit with them in their home to discuss a new medical problem. They did not need another problem. Early in their lives their 10-year-old son had died of cancer. More recently another son, suffering from schizophrenia, had blinded his father in a fit of rage. They were now planning the memorial service for a third son. They sat there with great peace, trusting God that His plan was good and that His love was constant. The husband spoke honestly as I commented on their amazing peace, “Of course, we certainly don’t like this.”
There is no way to rationalize the peace that my friends displayed, and they would not deny the struggle that contradicted that peace. Within his statement, my friend and mentor was telling me this, “We know what real suffering is. Nevertheless, we rest in Him.” Jesus said the same thing to us, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).
We, as children of the King, live in a world where real suffering will sometimes lay its smothering blanket over us. From beneath that blanket it may take some time before we realize God’s peace and presence. But He is there, and once we find ourselves in His arms, the struggle is different, even irrationally different.
The prophet Habakkuk put it this way: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NIV 1984).
In a beautiful rap and melody duet, Steven Malcolm and Natalie Grant put it this way:
“Even if the drum stops beating, my soul will keep on singing, even louder, even louder….”
My experience and these dear friends have shown me that suffering really hurts…nevertheless, we can trust our God and, in His presence, can even find irrational peace within the pain.
Bless those who suffer in this world. Please remove all suffering that is not necessary for Your plan of love and redemption. Help those who love You, that they may rest in Your arms and know the irrational peace of Your presence.