Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen. We ponder, scratching our head as a child suffers or a parent fights alcohol or drug addiction or something precious to us is destroyed by negligence, evil intend or even accident. I hear people ask,“Why would God do that?” or more often “Why would God let that happen?” The answer is simply- God doesn’t cause our problems, or sickness or heartache or loss but he DOES use them for the glory of His kingdom.
Sometimes we or someone near us is changed by tragedy and sometimes someone we don’t even know will be transformed by our affliction. One thing is certain, in the end Jesus wins. He takes what satan conjures up to send us into chaos and works it out for good. A single horrific incident or a series of bad circumstances can lead people to a life tucked in the arms of a Savior that loves us without fail.
Paul writes “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Paul, suffered greatly and he yet he speaks of a light momentary affliction. Paul actually gives us a list of his suffering in Chapter 11 beginning with verse 23 of his second letter to the Corinthians. Just to name a few, he faced death from:
- the open sea
- fellow Hebrews
- non believers
- many others
Earlier in the chapter he writes: ” We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
As I pondered this scripture today, I thought of my grandmother. She had a hard life in Bartlick, VA, a little town tucked up in the Appalachian Mountains on the outskirts of Haysi, VA. Her father died when she was only 11. She had ten children and no money. Her husband was burned over 90% of his body in a coal mining accident before disability pay existed. She fought breast cancer in her late thirties, before there were any pink ribbons or races for a cure. Her life, ended at only 63 from very painful liver cancer. Yet, above all this tragedy, she was loved the Lord more than anyone I had ever met.
Like Paul’s life, on the surface, hers seems unfair, even tragic. But her prayers, to have all her family through every generation love Jesus as she did, changed the lives of many and continue to do so today.
As I scroll back through the pictures of children that are beginning to know Jesus in the building she set aside for the work of Jesus nearly 50 years ago., I am amazed at the mercy of God and how continues to honor the prayers of his children even after their earthly life is over.
Many lives were lost last week in the Boston bombings by an act that can only be defined as evil. Children dead and maimed, entire families injured and a city paralyzed by fear. But as time passes we will begin to see the lives transformed and the goodness of God shine through. Once again, Jesus will use darkness to shine light. He always has and always will!