I recall after my daughter Amanda was born. Filled with concern any new father with a beautiful baby girl became my worry. We were blessed with a bright beautiful, happy, bright, sensitive and caring little girl who is still the apple of her daddy's eye.
Shortly after her birth something happened to another daddy's little girl. I do not remember her name for this was so many years ago. This little girl was taken from the home while playing in the backyard. She was found a few days later badly used and murdered. My heart was beyond breaking for this little girl's parents.
The question always comes at times like those is why? Why did God allow this to go on? Does he not know or not care? Or is he unable or unwilling to help? Did he want this to happen? The last question is perhaps the most painful. The challenge for Christians is to try to answer these questions. Mistakenly thinking they have the answer the attempts are made.
Offensive answer number 1: This is a fallen world and bad things happen to good people. This is an attempt, it appears, to try to sound rational and bible believing at the same time. The offense is caused because it sound flippant and said to silence the weeping of the parent.
Offensive answer number 2: God is Sovereign and wants to use this to strengthen you for scripture says:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)
That answer looks even more scriptural for we have a proof text! But placing the verse back into its near context it is addressing the Holy Spirit's work in and for the Christian. The offense here is again flippancy compounded by the fact this verse was never meant for such use.
(John 11:35 ESV)
This is the only response which is warranted. We do not seek to explain it to the sufferers. We do not seek to understand because we have no ability to understand the grief. The parents are weeping so the Christian also joins with them in weeping. Jesus knew he would raise his dead friend so why the sadness? He was doing the Jesus job fulfilling the love and care for a friend of which we are incapable. This demonstrates in his humanity and his Deity he is intimately involved with the suffering. He understands the sorrow he is not separated from it We are incapable of fully understanding the sadness another is experiencing due to our fallen condition. We are too self focused and cannot totally love our neighbor as ourselves. We just want to end our misery by trying to end the suffering person's misery. We are not only incapable but unwilling for it is uncomfortable and unseemly to cry openly with a sufferer.
Jesus atoned for this inability and unwillingness on the cross. We are not held liable for this sin of not caring as we should. His resurrection secures for us justification which is given to us as a gift. Jesus' resurrection is our focus point during all times of suffering. What a glorious promise we receive through faith.
Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †