I am going to continue to blog through this season of life, I find it therapeutic for one thing; many of my posts are going to be dealing with questions oriented around my particular health issue, at the moment. Also I am going to create a “page” that is dedicated to updating everyone on the progress of my treatments, and finally my recovery — you will see that at the upper part of my blog (with the rest of the pages). Anyway, this post is going to deal with the question of “why?”

I think it’s probably natural for all human beings to ask the question of “why?” when faced with life threating conditions. Certainly in my case (my families’ case) I am dealing with a real life, very weighty issue, cancer. I don’t want to deal with it (but I must), I don’t understand the point, I am frustrated to have life so interrupted from my plans, I want my comfortability back — my sense of security, I want a feeling of control; so this all leads me to the question of Why?

The Lord doesn’t really answer the why questions for is, but wait we’re in luck; in this case He actually does, He explains through His Word ‘why’ we suffer — He lets us know the purpose for suffering (whatever is the particular cause of the suffering). II Corinthians 1:2-7 says:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4. who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7. and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as your are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

Should we be surprised then that we encounter various kinds of suffering and tribulation? What this passage tells us is that suffering has purpose, it has a point; not only for this life, but for the life to come (in glorification). It tells us that suffering of any kind, in Christ, is not in vein; and that one of the reasons we experience suffering is so that we can experience the superabundant comfort of our Father. The thing is, is that we would never know, really, how to bear the burdens of others (Gal. 6) without going through the fire and deep waters ourselves (Is. 43). This is one of the reasons for affliction and the subsequent suffering; it is so that we can experience the comfort of the Lord. And here is the hope part, we go through these sufferings and comfortings so that later we can come alongside another suffering brother or sister and comfort them with the same comfort that we ourselves experienced in the midst of the same or similar circumstances. In fact I’ve already experienced this kind of comfort myself; one of my former profs from Bible College lived through lymphoma some 30 years ago. I met with him, and prayed with him recently; the most encouraging thing, the most comforting thing to me, was to be sitting with him, and talking with a survivor of the same thing that I am currently facing.

So “WHY?”, because the Lord wants to show us His comfort so that we can later show others that same comfort; and be part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of “paracleting” (or comforting). This charges all kinds of suffering, not just mine right now, but all of ours, with Christ-filled purpose. It also explains a bit of “why” we must go through things, it’s for the other; it’s not about me (although it involves me), there is a bigger thing going on than just “our” plans. God is faithful, and He is also faithful to bring things into our lives that we would never choose; this is what a loving and comforting Father does.

My next posts will be on Romans 5:1ff and Hebrews 12 (and discipline) . . .