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UNSTOPPABLE – Where is God in the Midst of Suffering?

May 23, 2014 by

cross

If God is good and He loves us, then how do we explain pain, suffering, tragedy, and death?

Is He watching, but powerless to do anything about it? Or is it just that He is unable to see what is going to happen, thus He simply cannot affect the future?

Our family recently watched Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable. He did an amazing job addressing these tough issues as he tries to deal with great loss. Kirk said that “these are the questions that turn Christians into atheists.” I would also add that these are questions that keep atheists from turning into Christians.

As a storyteller, Kirk Cameron did a wonderful job of portraying the greatest story ever told.

It is History. It is our story. It is the story of our creation, our sin and its subsequent death, and most importantly, our redemption. He addresses what happened to mankind in the garden, Cain killing his brother, the disobedience at Babel, the saving of Noah and his family, the destruction of the earth with the flood, the promise to Abraham, and the promise of Jesus. He did a wonderful job portraying the reasons for the pain, suffering, tragedy, and death that are rampant in our world.

He shared the truth that God does work all things for good for those who love Him, like Romans 8:28 teaches us. God is working in all things for His glory and for our good. He is working in the hard things and in the good things. He is working in our blessings, our successes, our pain, our suffering, and even in our death.

Kirk shared the teaching illustration that Jesus discusses in the Bible referring to His own death. (See John 12:23-24). Jesus taught that unless a single kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will only remain a single seed. Only in its death can many seeds be produced.

“A man is helped to live by being reminded that he must die.” ~Charles Spurgeon

John 3:16 and the cross of Christ tell a story. “Jesus flips death on its head by dying for His enemies. After death came life. Life burst from the grave. In fact, every graveyard is a garden. And one day, each seed will burst into a new world. God’s purposes are unstoppable.” ~Kirk Cameron

We know that in the midst of our suffering, God does care. He cared enough to send His one and only son to die so that we may live. When Lazarus died, Jesus, God in flesh, wept. He didn’t cry because He was powerless to do anything about the outcome. He wept because He saw those whom He loved weeping in their grief and loss. (See John 11). He cares.The God of the universe wept for His people because He cares.

The New Living Translation of the Bible says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8). We may not understand why He chooses not to answer our prayers the way we think He should, but we cannot argue that He doesn’t care.

We have another example, not only of God’s incredible care and love for us, but His patience. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).

I don’t know about you, but one of the most exciting promises of my faith is the hope that Christ will one day return for His people. I’m ready. I like to joke that my bags are packed. I am often quite impatient as I wish for Him to return at this moment. I am thankful for my life on this earth, but I know that, at best, it pales in comparison to what is waiting for me in His forever kingdom.

I do need to remember, though, that there are many who still need to be saved. It is for them that God is patiently waiting. It is for them that we must patiently endure. Are we waiting for you? If we are, would you prayerfully consider His calling today?

I don’t have all the answers. Neither does Kirk Cameron.

All I can tell you is that we know our God and He is good. He is sovereign and powerful. He loves us and He is patiently waiting for He wishes all to come to Christ so that we may live forever with Him. That is the peace that helps us cope in the midst of our pain, our suffering, and our tragedies. That is the hope that reigns when we grieve and when we mourn.

There is no sting in death. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) Christ conquered death on the cross. For now, we will cling to that truth because it is enough. He is enough. It is my deepest prayer that you have settled this issue in your heart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our pain and suffering, we can know that we are loved. Help us to remember in our grief that You care. Thank You that we can overcome because You have conquered death. Help us to comfort one another as we wait patiently for Your return. We pray, especially, for those who have not yet come to a saving knowledge of You. May today be the day of salvation for them. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. 

In loving memory of my precious Aunt Sharon. 

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*For your convenience, live links to Bible verses have been created. Just click on the highlighted link to read the Bible verse in a new window.

You can purchase Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable from Amazon. Another Kirk Cameron must see is Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure. If you’d like to read his story about coming to the faith, check out Still Growing: An Autobiography. 

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

15 Responses to UNSTOPPABLE – Where is God in the Midst of Suffering?

  1. Rick Greer

    When God called Sharon home at the young age of 42, all of us around her could not understand in the moment why God would allow this beautiful Christian woman of his to suffer like she did in her cancer battle. We asked God to answer our prayer of healing and allowed our faith to be shaken to the core as we saw those prayers go unanswered the way we wanted. Then one by one, God spoke to each one of us as we realized that He did answer our prayers. She is home in his loving embrace, totally healed! God’s perfect, relentless, unstoppable love for his Sharon pursued her to perfection! Let’s all pack our bags for to live is Christ, to die is gain, and then live each day to the fullest for His glory. Amen?!!

    • Heather

      I remember that her greatest fear was that we would lose faith in God because He didn’t answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to. In working through the loss of her, I can honestly say that my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. God is always good!

  2. Carl Sande

    Very timely message for me Heather. I had to draw blood on a three year old hospice patient in the ER last night. Afterward, I had to go into the bathroom and cry a little bit. I do take comfort in knowing that soon, this little boy will be in the loving arms of Jesus and never hurt again. Thanks for your post.

    • Heather

      Thank you for sharing this, Carl. I can’t imagine how difficult your job can be at times. I do know that you are such a loving person and light for the Lord that your presence is a comfort to those who are sick. I’m sure the Lord is saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I will be praying for that little boy and his family.

      • Heather

        I have been praying for this little boy and his family. Do you have an update on his condition? Do you know if his family are believers?

  3. bonniesteinborn

    You are right, Heather — I did need to see this! Much of what you said has been in my heart recently. Bless you for putting it into the right context.
    I especially liked the quote that “every graveyard is a garden.” That has much meaning to me at the moment — . When things that you love — not necessarily a person – is cut off from your — out of your heart… it feels much like death and a graveyard.
    BUT Jesus knows about death, separation and loss. AND HIS Garden WILL bloom. But like my lettuce seeds in my new raised bed… TIME is needed — for germination and growth. AS a matter of a fact — If you don’t mind — I just might use this quote in my blog tonight. It is a powerful thought that I want to expand on. MAY I?

  4. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper

    Thanks for the reminder that in the midst of our suffering, God does care. More than we will ever comprehend and understand. I’m thankful that we have a God who knows our grief and has felt it yet we have such a tender reminder in the promise of His goodness. Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to check out the film Unstoppable some time soon.

    • Heather

      I am so thankful to our God that we are able to comfort one another with the hope we find in Him. Unstoppable will be difficult for you to watch at this time, but it is so encouraging. It is such a great reminder of the incredible God we serve. I asked my library to purchase a copy and they did. Just a suggestion in case your library will do the same for you. Know that I will be praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

  5. Rick

    I love that 1 cor 15:50-58 scripture where is says that death will be swallowed up in victory when the perishable must be clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. All praise be to God as he so lovingly dresses us in His designer clothes for life! I love your prayer Heather that as we patiently wait for His return, we comfort one another and pray that those who do not know Him may come to salvation today.

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