I’m reading the book of Kings with my oldest two (11 and 13). Tonight we were in the story of Jeroboam when his wife goes to the prophet of the Lord because her son is sick. The prophet tells her that her son will die, be mourned and buried, because he is FAVORED by the Lord and has some love for God. Then the prophet goes on to say that the REST of the family, who have followed their father in turning to idols will die and be eaten by either animals or birds.
Not exactly an easy passage to explicate.
Brendan says–“What about the little ones who don’t know better like Steffi (his 5 year old sister).”
Answer: No easy answer. Yet, because I’m the mom, I do answer. “There is a lot I do not know. When I think about how big the universe is (we just went to a physics program about the size of the universe) and how small we are, I cannot understand why God (who is beyond the Universe and made it) even thinks about us. Yet he does. He tells us he loves us. He worked out his love through history and told us that in the Bible. He came to be with us. He died for us. He comes to live in us. So–One thing I know, God loves. He loves the little ones and he bears them in this life and the next.”
A second thing I know–the point of our lives is not just to be happy. It is to glorify Him. Jesus was glorified in being rejected, despised and killed. All through my adoption process with Steffi, the phrase, “I was rejected and despised by men,” kept on running through my head. When we love those that man has rejected, we are God’s love here on earth.
I’m not sure if there is an answer to the problem of suffering. God told Job it wasn’t really his business to ask. There may not be an answer, but there is a response. Love. Care. Pray deeply. Feel for those in need. And do something if you can.
I’m thankful to my friends Carrie and Jacob for leading us in thinking about our response, and for Rhonda for showing us the way through personal suffering.
When I was about 12 I read a book about a Russian girl who is put in a concentration camp. I only remember one thing about this book. When the girl was in the concentration camp, she would remember the rolls she used to eat and dream about them. She said to herself, “They cannot take away my memory of the rolls” and by that she also meant her memory of the happy life she’d had in her family.
I’ve often thought about that. No one can take away the beautiful things we are given in this life, our beautiful memories. No one knows what the future holds for them. None of us knows what suffering or joy will come tomorrow. Yet all of us can hold on to the good God has given to us. Not the good in comparison to someone else. The good given to us. As I sat by my dying mother-in-law and felt the warm rays of the sun come in her window. I marveled at how very wonderful that warm sun was on my skin. It was a lovely moment. It cost nothing. Everyone can experience the sun’s rays warming our skin. Yet we won’t experience it automatically. We need to pay attention. So one other thing we can do to relieve suffering in ourselves and others is to look for the good that rains down on all of us, the righteous and the unrighteous.