As hard as we try, our lives just don’t stick to the scripts we’ve written. As the bumper stickers tell us, “Stuff Happens.” Bad things happen to bad people, and they happen to nice people (like you & me), too. So we ask, “Why?”
The prophet Habakkuk groaned his protests to the Lord. “How long?” “Why?”
Now it’s our family’s turn to ask the question. As some of you know, my 15-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with a Stage Three melanoma. There are no sure answers to the “why” question. St. Paul says that the whole creation is in bondage to decay. Everything is falling apart, including us.
One thing that sufferers should not do is look for someone to blame, including blaming oneself. Jesus’ disciples once asked him whose fault it was that a man had been born blind. They wondered if it was he who was being punished by God, or if it was it his parents. Jesus’ reply brings me a lot of comfort: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
This side of Judgment Day we may or may not see what God is actually up to, what he accomplishes through our sufferings. We don’t need to know. We just take comfort in knowing that our Savior Jesus, a man “acquainted with grief,” is working it both ways, blessing the believers both through pleasure and hardship. Soon will come rest for weary souls.