By Clint Harden
When it comes to perseverance, I, like many others, have the quick trigger and ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
This question has driven people from faith in Jesus. This question has caused so much confusion in my own mind. This question has been the subject of books. But two thoughts put this question in perspective.
My first thought is that we’re asking the wrong question. We know bad things happen. We see it daily no matter what we do. Drive our car? Read the news? Work? We’ve all witnessed bad things happen in each of those situations.
But what about the big things? The death of a child, cancer that claimed another life, mass shootings, the murder of unborn children. God rarely (if ever) lets us in on the ‘why,’ so the question we should be asking is, “How do I suffer through this?”
To do well suffering, we must turn to the cross. God feels our pain with us. He was moved to weeping when His friend Lazarus died before miraculously raising him to life. We have the ultimate hope because of the empty cross.
No matter how great the suffering, we have the hope of the risen savior and we know He will never leave us. The rapper Andy Mineo has a line in his song titled “…Lost” that reads “You never said I wouldn’t go through it, you just said I’d never be alone.”
My second thought is that when we ask that question of “Why?” during prolonged periods of suffering, we are all but forced to look to the book of Job.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Job chapters 38-41, when the Lord finally speaks to Job about all the suffering he’s endured. God basically says to Job, “Um, I’m sorry, but who are you?”
Job 38:17-18 says “Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.”
Those chapters are full of words from God like that, just straight up questioning Job about if he knows the time the mountain goat gives birth, or if he knows who has given wisdom and understanding to the mind, or where he was when the water of the sea was told to stop.
I encourage you to remember the sovereignty of God. As pastor, author, and theologian John Piper puts it, “There are no maverick cells outside His control.” I’m not saying we simply grin and bear it, that’s too much under suffering. I’m saying we turn to run to Him, praise Him for His sovereignty, and let Him comfort us as we walk through the most difficult moments of our lives.
We know that he will not leave us. We know that even when our lives seem to be falling apart around us, we can look to Jesus, draw near to Him, and hear the words we need to persevere.