13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. - Colossians 1:13-14
Darkness is all around us in this world - all you have to do is turn on the news for a few minutes to see the destruction and the hate that exists in this world. It can be absolutely heartbreaking to watch. It's easy to understand how someone can slip into the bondage of despair if they don't have a deep understanding of God's plan in all this chaos. Our theology of suffering - how we think about God and suffering - is what determines how we respond to and how we view our trials - both those happening in the world, and those happening in our lives.
I had an interesting conversation with one of my nurses yesterday - in response to my sharing about God's sovereignty in my diagnosis, she said I could just as easily be angry at God for giving me cancer. She went on to share that she used to work in pediatric oncology where she saw so many children lose their lives. She ended up in a place where she was angry at God for not stopping that kind of tragedy and for not putting an end to the heartache. What an incredibly difficult job - to come right up against the darkness in this world every single day. Processing that kind of pain every day could easily lead you into a pit of despair. So many people walk away angry at God after a difficult trial asking the same question - if God is so loving, why doesn't he stop all the pain and put an end to the trials? If God loves me, why did He give me cancer?
God didn't give me cancer. The fact that we live in a broken world full of sin gave me cancer. This isn't the world God created for us - He created a beautiful world where there were no trials and no tears. He created us in His image, which means He created us to love one another in the same way He loves us. But our arrogance and our pride broke that world, and it was handed over to prince of darkness. Could God heal my cancer? Sure He could, in the blink of an eye. And He may do just that, but that wouldn't necessarily accomplish His plan. What I do know is that whether or not He heals me, God's plan is ultimately for good - not just my good, but the good of everyone involved.
You see, His plan all along has been that the world would be filled with great comforters - that we would love one another as He loves us, forgiving and serving one another as He forgives and serves us. But we're broken. The reality is that our tendency is not to put the needs of others before our own, or the suffering of others above our own. Our tendency is to focus on ourselves because we are broken and we live in a broken world. So how does he tenderize our hearts, and turn us into great comforters? By putting us in the very suffering that others in our lives experience, so that we understand what kind of comfort others need. There's just no other way to do it. I've counseled and comforted women with breast cancer before, but never had an intimate understanding of the thoughts or the fears or what brings someone in this trial comfort. As compassionate as I tried to be, I could never fully understand because I had not walked through cancer. Now I get it, now I know, now I can comfort in a way that only someone who has walked this road can comfort.
Oh, that the world would be filled with great comforters. That's the plan. So thankful that He is tenderizing my heart and allowing me to see the world differently through this trial.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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