The recent storm in Haiti, as well as countless other storms from yesteryear, no doubt, have roused many questions in the minds of those touched by their destruction. Some are asking, “Where do we go from here?” Others wonder if they are being punished by God for some wrong. Some people are even blaming God altogether for the loss of property and loved ones. When our brother, Job, was struck with great tragedy and loss, he asked some of these same questions. He once said to God, “You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me. (22) You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. (23) For I know that you will bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living” (Job 30:21-23). We certainly are not given all the answers to the difficult questions we may have, but days like these are great opportunities to realize who God is.
After Job finished his list of grievances to the God of Heaven, the Lord answered with a long list of His “credentials” (Job 38-41) that left Job awestruck over God’s limitless power. We must remember that God IS all-powerful, and that He has not forsaken us when bad things happen. Let us reflect for the next few moments on the lessons that sometimes only suffering can teach: 1) Suffering reminds us that our lives are delicate and brief. This knowledge will compel a wise person to throw himself before God in humble submission. 2) Adverse circumstances often bring out the best in people. Those who have suffered are better equipped to aid others as they are suffering (Heb. 2:18). 3) Troubles can help us differentiate between things that really matter and things that don’t. Our families and our eternal souls become dearer to us when we are hit by tragedy. Indeed, “what would a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Certainly, none of us want to suffer. But we can remember who God is and “Count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3).