Devotional

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” – Matthew 4:23-25.

What jumps out at you when you read the passage of scripture listed above? To me it is all about inclusion. Jesus showed compassion for all and helped them: the poor, the despised, the outcasts, anybody in pain. Jesus healed them all. He could handle any kind of pain. He could handle any kind of person. He could meet any kind of need. He was present in their pain. No wonder people heard about him from all over the region. 

If Jesus healed everybody in Matthew 4, why can’t He take away my pain, problems and troubles? This question is sometimes asked by people with a genuine desire to understand what seems impossible to understand. Other times it’s asked by people who have suffered or whose loved ones have known grief and loss. They honestly want to know: How could God let this happen to me and to mine? Why wouldn’t God stop this pain and help me? The critic of Christianity would respond that God is either not all-knowing, not all-powerful, or not all-good.

The Bible leaves many of our questions about suffering unanswered. However, what it does do is tell us the story of how God is close to us in the midst of our suffering, who actually suffered for us, who will one day destroy suffering forever. When Jesus hung on the cross, He suffered one of the worst deaths imaginable, because He took on all the sins of humanity. Despite His innocence, He died for our transgressions. At its heart, the Bible is not a book of advice or moral principles to help us deal with suffering and have a better life. Fundamentally, it is the story of what God has accomplished for us, how He is repairing a broken world; it is a message of hope in light of His suffering for us.

God cares very deeply about you, and is attentive to every detail of your life—even those things that burden your heart. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” It may seem like your life has been shaken to the core, but His love for you is never shaken. “‘For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:10).

No matter how bad things may seem, God is in control. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Matthew 10:29-31 says, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” If God’s eye is on the sparrow, He’s most certainly watching you. In the midst of sadness and uncertainty, His hand is there to guide you; His strength is there to support you. You are never out of His reach. He is present in your pain.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why does God allow pain and suffering?
  2. Have you seen an example in your life, or in the lives of others, how hardships have led to
    maturity and transformation?
  3. Have you ever seen hardships cause a person to grow bitter, disillusioned, or self
    contained? How so?