Ever wonder why bad things happen? A lot? In recent weeks we’ve seen a few earthquakes over the news and LOTS of severe weather in the south central part of the country. Not to mention, dare I say it, the ISIS threat looming like a plague all it’s own. In my own little home we’ve had ear infections and fevers and allergies (not quite on the same scale as earthquakes, tornadoes/flooding, and terrorists). I have friends who constantly deal with sickness or aches/pains. It’s a chronic suffering for many. I’m sure my friends could speak to this better than I can, because I’m no expert nor have I had the long-term exposure to chronic pain or sickness that they’ve had. What I do know, however, is that when you’re dealing with a threat to your health that doesn’t appear to show any signs of going away in the near future…or ever…you can get easily discouraged. This is especially true when, like us, you’ve been fairly healthy all your life. When we encounter something that appears to be chronic suffering, woe is me! What is going on? The world is ending!
We who are the Church can sometimes fall into the deception that we shouldn’t have to go through suffering as if having our names written in the book of Life guarantees smooth sailing. Oh but we know better! We’ve been told that in this world we will have trouble, but we can take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world! We’ve been told that if we belong to Him, we will suffer, and it’s because of Him that the world will hate us. We’ve also been told that sharing in His sufferings results in a deeper intimacy with Christ than if we got to simply rest on our laurels.
The other part of the deception is in thinking that these bad things are a sign that God does not love us. That He’s punishing us. That we’ve done something to deserve the suffering. BZZZZZZ. Wrong again.
I’ll never forget how people automatically assumed that Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment on the “sinful people” in Louisiana. God forbid we attribute something like this to Him, as if we could possibly know this! So what have you labeled as God’s hand in your life? Is it all the suffering? Is it the rain, the flooding, the earthquakes? Let me be clear, He IS in it all. It’s just that He may not be in it like we think He is. What is the appropriate view of God in these times of suffering?
Maybe He opened up the heavens and let the rains fall so that the Light could shine in the darkness.
Maybe He allowed the storms so that the world could see how His children respond in love and service to others and in faith and perseverance through the difficult times.
The Light is always bright. It’s not that the Light shines brightest in the dark. However when contrasted with the darkness, it appears to shine more brightly. The effects of the Light will result in God’s glory. We are a light on a hill! It can’t be hidden nor should it be.
May we see these times as opportunities to reflect His Light back to the world. May they see how we react to difficulties and take notice of how different it is from what they’re used to. May we be careful to speak words of trust in our Father so that we can give people hope in the One greater than themselves and much greater than their circumstances.
The world is watching. Be the Light.