My neighbour recently commented that stuff happens. That’s not quite how she put it but from a more diplomatic point of view that is what she meant.
Stuff happens in life. The question is, what do we do when stuff happens in my life or in the life of someone I love or at least know?
People sometimes say they have left the church because of some tragic event; they felt as if God wasn’t there for them. That isn’t true, of course. God is always present for us.
We read in our Bibles that we can cast all of our cares upon God for He cares for us.
Yet there is the debate as to where is God when it hurts, when troubling times arrive, when the world is upset and we are caught in the crosshairs of crisis.
Eugene Peterson has written a very fine comment on it all in his introduction to the book of Job in the paraphrase Bible called “The Message.” He writes, “We gain hope — not from the darkness of our suffering, not from pat answers in books, but from God who sees our suffering and shares our pain.”
When going through dark days, not sure what lay ahead but assured it was not going to be good from a human point of view, I have commented I had no choice but to draw nearer to God. Actually I did have a choice. I could have withdrawn from God but His love drew me ever closer to Him and it is His love that saw me through and continues to encourage and strengthen me.
As one person said, when in the throes of suffering someone came and wouldn’t stop talking, had an answer for everything, wanted to fix the problem, and he couldn’t wait for that person to leave. Then another person came, sat quietly, listened, didn’t offer any advice but gave of time and attention, and he wanted that person to stay and stay and stay.
In the problem of suffering we find a mystery. There are no pat answers but we ought to know God is with us and will be with us. We also ought to know we can comfort one another with love, compassion, and tenderness, even without words or deeds but simply by being there.
— Pastor Allan Walker is at the Qualicum Beach Baptist Church