“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name (Christ)” (1 Peter 4:16, ESV).
My patient Stan was doing well, but his son was not. His son has advanced head and neck cancer that keeps him in terrible pain. Stan described to me the time he watched his son step out of a car and fall to the ground, screaming and shaking with pain. Stan said that he once told his son he could not understand why God would allow him to suffer so.
His son replied, “I know why. For two years I have been a follower of Christ because of this suffering. That’s why.”
I would never claim to know the “why” for someone else’s suffering. Nor will I deny the truth of “why” from one who is speaking it in pain.
The one great argument against God’s loving power is His inability or refusal to prevent terrible suffering in this world. And the greatest argument to defend God’s love-combined-with-power is the word of those who suffer and continue to love Him. And the greatest moment in history that defends that argument is the moment when God watched His own son on the cross.
When you have real people and real events that demonstrate the truth, the story is more important than the debate. Stan’s story is more important than the debate. The cross is more important than the debate.
Dear Father,Bless the faithful who suffer. Help them bear witness to your love.