My 6 year old is suffering. My wife and I took him to the doctor today and found out he has strep throat, oral thrush, and scarlet fever. I didn’t even know you could still get scarlet fever, but apparently it is the name of the rash that occurs sometimes with some cases of strep. Poor little guy… he’s lost about three pounds since just last week, and he’s already a rail. He’s built just like I was when I was his age; everybody used to call me “beanpole”. My wife had the worst migraine of her life just a few days ago and had to go and get a shot of Stodall and Phenigran (neither of which I probably spelled correctly), and is still recovering from that malady. A lot of it is stress-related, and she is in the process of learning what she needs to do to deal with it without being completely disabled by it. And I am trying to take care of my family during this time of trial and still get my work done, but I feel like I’m running in quick sand… going nowhere but down. I feel like I’m failing in every avenue of my life right now, regardless of the amount of effort I’m making. And I know not to rely on my own strength, but on His. Still, though, I feel like I’m running on fumes–and carbon monoxide at that.
Part of me says, “It shouldn’t be this hard!” Yet at the same time, another part of me does know that in one of those divine paradoxes of life, God is glorified through trial and strife. The sovereignty of God often shines through the suffering of life. The picture of Christ on the Cross is perhaps the best example of this, but the Bible is full of other examples all the way back to the beginning of man. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, Job, Noah, Moses and the Israelites, King David and Solomon, the prophets, Jesus and the Twelve, the Apostle Paul and the first Christians. Everywhere you look, you find stories of human suffering intertwined with the sovereignty of God. At times, it seems unjust or unwarranted–which is a point of view exploited by Bart Ehrman’s latest book. However, as God said to Isaiah:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
And although the times of trial and suffering can seem overwhelming at times, it is precisely at those times that God gives us opportunities to grow. To grow in Him, to abide in the true vine as Jesus says in John 15. Those plants that endure harsh climates are the strongest; likewise, those who weather storms and assaults of faith grow strongest by their trials. I meant to add a collection of verses and additional points to this post, but I found two sites that covered the territory I meant to explore much better than I probably could. This is not an endorsement of all of the content on those sites, but I did find this information to be helpful