Friday, January 22, 2016

Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Early yesterday morning I wake up to a text from my father telling me that my grandmother fell the night before and broke her hip. I decided that I would take a couple of days off from work to be with her knowing that the only other person with her was my dad and he was already up for more than 24 hours.

After he told me what happened, I was so upset. I learned that she was alone the night she fell. For several hours, she had to crawl her way down a long hallway to find her purse then again to find her cell phone to dial 911. For 2 hours she was in such agony as she slowly dragged her limp and broken body through the house to find a way to call for help.

The paramedics broke into the house and she was rushed to the hospital. When I got there the next morning after it happened, my heart just sunk. As a child, your grandparents are the utopian parents. To me, the title of "Grand" parent doesn't necessarily mean hierarchy in the generations. Growing up, my grandmother was "grand" in the since that she SPOILED me rotten. She was the "parent" that loved me despite my errors in judgement. She never spanked me, always let me get away with whatever I wanted, and she never failed to fix me my favorite breakfast in the morning. She loved me... and loves me still... unconditionally.

As soon as I walked into her room, I leaned over the hospital bed laced with wires and tubes and softly kissed her forehead. She whispered hello, and after a brief greeting, I ask her if there is anything I can do for her. With the same endearing sense of humor she always had, she says, "Give me a new body!" I chuckle knowing that she is kidding since she was hurting from head to toe, but I thought, "One day, grandma, YOU will have a glorious body!"

There will come a day, when all those that believe and hope in the glory of Jesus will wake up to a brand new body.

Skeptics of Christianity argue, 'What God could allow pain and suffering in the world?' They say that if there is an all-loving, all-powerful God then He wouldn't allow us to suffer. So, in their minds, God couldn't exist.  All over the world we hear of tsunamis, earth quakes, terrorist attacks, persecutions, and so much more that people have had to suffer through and endure. But all that happens doesn't mean it is evidence God doesn't exist. Most though might agree that all the suffering in the world is evil which in itself supports the fact that there is a supernatural power at work.

These skeptics assume that if God really exists He would stop all this suffering. But, why couldn't it be possible that from God's point of view, each case presents an opportunity to reveal His glory at work? What if God has reasons for allowing pain and suffering to continue that you don't know about? Though our faith in Jesus doesn't provide the reason why we have to suffer, it does give us the resource for being able to face it with hope and courage rather than despair and bitterness.

The apostle Paul writes in Romans,

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
As believers, we have the hope that,
"the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10
We have a Holy God that came and dwelt with us as a man. Being both fully human and fully God suffered as we have with pain, despair, and anguish to take all the sin of the world and rescue us from death. When we return with him,
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelations 21:4
So yes, sweet Grandma, you will one day receive a glorious new body. When we all see Jesus, He will wipe away every tear and take away all of our pain.
"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not build by human hands. Meanwhile we grown, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly bodies." 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

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