Christians believe that Jesus is, as Colossians tells us, “the exact likeness of the unseen God” (1:15 TLB). If we want to know how God feels about people who are suffering—from poverty, oppression, cancer, or the COVID-19 virus—all we need do is look at Jesus’s compassionate response. God is on their side. As the scholar, Jacques Ellul reminds us, “The suffering of Jesus is in no way good news to him… No, from the biblical point of view, suffering is a horror; it is an act of ‘Satan,’ the ‘devil’s pleasure.’” When Jesus faced a personal ordeal of suffering, he reacted much like any of us would, recoiling from it and asking if there was any other way.
Rob wrote this in the midst of his cancer treatment. He came through the other side, so can you.
“I feel nearly helpless against the pain. But I still have the power to choose. I can anchor my heart and mind to fear and self-pity until they drown me. Or, I can take Jesus’ outstretched hand, and walk with him in faith, hope, and love. That, I’ve found, is the real difference between dying and living.”
March 5, 2020
I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us.
Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.” The Christian replies, “Don’t talk… nonsense.”
Sin and disease are evil, definite evil, not imperfect good; they do not call for improvement, they call for destruction.
It is not affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne that does us good.
A woman who needed a miracle once told me that she felt God had allowed her sickness for a purpose. I told her that if I treated my children that way I’d be arrested for child abuse.