Thoughts on “Why – Pain and Suffering” ~ Guest Blog by Anna McCauley
The question that Pastor Barry tackled on Sleep In Sunday was a tough one, to say the least. There are no easy answers for grief, pain and suffering. There is no answer that can ease an aching heart or a troubled mind. Only the comfort and peace of the Lord can do that. I would like to share with you my family’s recent experience with pain and suffering, and how we learned to praise God through it.
Ten short months ago, our family suffered a terrible tragedy. After years of infertility, we were finally pregnant. James and I were over the moon, our family and friends were thrilled. We prayed daily for the health of this precious baby, that the pregnancy go smoothly and ultimately we take home a healthy baby. We held our breath through the terrifying first trimester and sighed a sigh of relief when we hit the “safety zone” of the second trimester. Everything was going well and the pregnancy was progressing normally.
The Monday before Thanksgiving, we went to the BIG ultrasound – the gender reveal ultrasound. A few minutes after the ultrasound started, I got the feeling that something definitely wasn’t right. And it wasn’t. We learned that our sweet baby’s heart wasn’t beating, and our baby would be stillborn. We had to immediately go to the hospital and the next day at 4:32 am, our son was born. He was tiny, but perfectly formed.
As I was praying incoherent prayers of grief, God gave me his name – Gideon. And the specific Scripture reference of Judges 6:12 – “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
We were shattered. Those first few days after it all happened were some of the darkest, saddest, angriest days of my life. I can remember screaming at God – “WHY?! We serve You, we worship You, we are disciples for You! So why us?! Why after so many years of infertility??”
I was mad at Him, and I told Him so. But, can I tell you, God’s presence was so strong. There is something beautiful about tragedy and being so stripped down, that all you can do is cling to Him. And it was through those first few heartbreaking weeks, that I learned so much. One – that you can still worship God from that place of earth- shattering grief and anger (I refer to it as my Dark Place.) And two – that God, the Creator of ALL things good and holy, does not make bad things happen…but that He does allow things to be your turning point. And He will turn those ugly results of living in a broken world into something beautiful and healing.
We are so blessed to have an amazing support system. We go to a church where people genuinely love one another through all areas of life – the good, the bad and the ugly. We also have a pastor that encourages authentic, deeply rooted faith, and because of that we had a firm foundation in God’s promises. We also knew that GOD IS FAITHFUL. He never leaves us, He mourns with us and He is an ever-present comfort in times of trouble. So, even though we were angry with God, we knew He had never turned His face from us, and we never turned our backs on Him. I can vividly remember saying to God, “I am really, really mad and confused…but I trust You. I trust that You will use this situation for good, and I am all in.”
So, we are intimately familiar that bad things happen. No matter how much you dedicate your life to the Lord, we are all still living in a broken world where bad things happen. But we do not serve a High Priest who hasn’t experienced pain and suffering. God sent His only Son to die for US – Jesus suffered for US. We serve a God of comfort, of healing, of blessings and of power. He has the power to transform the ugly into beautiful and He is always waiting and willing to do so.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” –Romans 8:18