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Why is there so much pain, God?

I posted about a leper in India who had no tongue and no hands. How do you explain it? Just a few questions that come to mind: How do you make sense of this man’s pain? His face is melting away. Does God lack the power to heal him? Or is he so far removed from life here on earth …
By Seth Barnes






I posted about a leper in India who had no tongue and no hands. How do you explain it? Just a few questions that come to mind: How do you make sense of this man’s pain? His face is melting away. Does God lack the power to heal him? Or is he so far removed from life here on earth that he chooses not to? And if God created everything, why did he create diseases like leprosy and malaria?
 

If you look around the world, if you look close enough, you’ll see a lot of pain. When I was first confronting the pain in Swaziland, I felt God showing me Lamentations 3.

I’m the man who has seen trouble,
   trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger.
He took me by the hand and walked me
   into pitch-black darkness.
Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand
   over and over and over again.

He turned me into a scarecrow
   of skin and bones, then broke the bones.
He hemmed me in, ganged up on me,
   poured on the trouble and hard times.
He locked me up in deep darkness,
   like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.

He shuts me in so I’ll never get out,
   manacles my hands, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
   he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.

I hear myself joining them in their lament. Together we tell God, “I believe you’re still there, but I’m finding it hard to believe that you’re good. All you’ve given me is trouble and I’m so tired of just trying to cope. Any of the answers people give me are to simplistic – I don’t even know if I can believe there are any good answers.”
 
What else is there to say or do? But Lamentations 3 doesn’t end that way. Midway through, it’s as though the writer, having beaten his fists against the chest of the Almighty, having dissolved into sobs, picks himself and continues to talk. And again I find myself joining him in what he says:

When life is heavy and hard to take,
   go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
   Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.

   The “worst” is never the worst.
I have a lot of questions for God about stuff that doesn’t make sense, and I’ll bet you do too. While I’m still struggling to understand these mysteries, I’m able to arrive at a place of peace because of one thing: I have experienced God’s goodness and over and over again have seen the way he redeems even the most horrible pain. And ultimately, we’ve been given the choice of how we’ll respond to pain.
 
And in the mean time, the best I can do is pray the prayer of Lamentations 3:24: “I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”

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