...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." Proverbs 1:32-33
Expectations. So much is contained in that little word. I often find myself struggling for words when I hear of unimaginable suffering and pain. We never expect to lose a child. We don’t expect to lose a spouse at a very young age. We expect life to go along without too many bumps in the road and when we do encounter those bumps, we expect to have the stamina and resources to cope and “get through it” without many scars. Many expect a good life if they “do good things and are a good person.” But, life, of course, doesn’t work that way. Things happen every day that are tragic and painful and throw us down to our knees.
Where do we find answers to life’s toughest questions? How do we offer comfort to those who are suffering so greatly? In God’s Word. My reading plan has me in the book of Proverbs. Life without wisdom is life on a winding road that has little purpose and very little hope. That wisdom can only be found in God. God is loving, merciful and forgiving. However, we are also warned that refusing to walk in the way of obedience will result in pain and suffering without the hope that is offered freely in a relationship with Him. In other words, we reap what we sow.
So many people in our daily lives are lost and without hope. They may have suffered greatly or they may be in the midst of a trial like no other. I find myself praying often to be “the light” to them. “Lord, let something come of this encounter that will point them to you.” I often wonder if I’ll have the “words” to help someone who is lost find any peace. God flowing through me is the only way that is possible. As believers, our peace and hope need to shine through in those times when we don’t have the words. Sometimes, just being there helps. Sometimes, it’s jumping in and filling a need – whatever that may be – that shows the light. And then, it’s God’ work to do. I’m learning that I need to get out of the way and let Him work through me, not the other way around. Only He can break down the walls of unbelief.
The Bible doesn’t promise us a life without suffering. In fact, it is stated that we will suffer. The world is a broken place where evil is present and there is much unbelief. There are those making choices every day that impact our lives and the lives of others, and many times that impact is suffering. However, the Bible does promise us that God is with those who believe in Him and that the pains of this life are temporary. That through it all, He is with us and loves us and will bring resolution in eternity. On this side of life, we will never have all the answers and will never know what His plan ultimately is. But, faith and hope offer a peace that is not of this world. And, since this world is broken and frail, and not our final destination, I’m choosing to be okay with that. I am holding out for the long term. And, I pray that I may be used to help bring as many people with me as possible.