I found out yesterday that a beloved and faithful pastor in our community has a very serious type of cancer....pray for his healing. It strikes close to home because another pastor, a close friend, was taken by cancer a few years back. It is always difficult to lose people you love, especially when they are taken young. It feels tragic, it feels unfair, it raises doubts in our minds about what God is doing. Some say, "it is the Lord's will." Some say, "Good will come of it." Others question the goodness of God, or even his existence. People turn to pastors for comfort during these times, but that doesn't mean that we aren't human. I assure you that the same questions which enter the minds of others certainly cross mine as well. People want to argue fine points. Did God "allow it" or did he "cause it"? Does that really matter? Either way the God who has the power to stop bad things from happening does not always intervene. That's the gritty truth about our Heavenly Father.
When my friend the pastor died I wondered why God would let the most faithful and kind pastor I'd ever met be ravaged by cancer in his 50s. I wondered selfishly why God doesn't give pastors some extra consideration; after all we work on his team! I could offer some words of comfort or give some theological insights which may or may not help. But I'd rather share the words of Job, a man who endured more suffering than most. He said, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) He also said, "The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21) Instead of rationalizing it all out, theologizing it to death, turning it to apologetics, he simply kept his faith. Things got worse. He held on. Things got unbearable. He bore it anyways. Things seemed hopeless. He hoped just the same. Things seemed unfair. Job kept going. Job's story is 41 chapters of suffering and a happy ending paragraph in chapter 42. But in the midst of mind blowing trouble he never turned his back on God. God grant me the faith to endure whatever life throws my way.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Deut 8-10