When I first became a mother, I soon found myself worried about my child's well-being. There was nothing wrong with her—just with me. You see, the illusion of control that we modern Westerners work so hard to keep up had been shattered for me, and I realized there was a host of dangers beyond my power to prevent that could potentially befall my helpless darling.
At that time, I was losing hold of my trust in God to take care of what I could not. My father-in-law had passed away prematurely the year before, and one of my dearest friends died shortly afterward. I had begun to experience disturbing flashbacks, and a repressed childhood trauma was showing signs of resurfacing. My husband's nerve injury was worsening, and it was dawning on us that the dream of a concert career for him might not merely be delayed but snuffed out.
I only mention this to show that when I advocate trusting in God I'm not doing so airily, with no personal experience of how hard it can be, especially in the face of suffering.
Why should we trust Him? How can we, when He sometimes allows difficult or devastating things to happen to us, even though He is supposed to be all-loving and all-powerful?
The problem is in part how we view God. If we see Him as a Big Prayer-Answering Machine in the Sky or an Almighty Santa Claus (minus the naughtiness-coal connection), we think that if He really loved us, He would just give us what we want and protect us from everything unpleasant, let alone painful or catastrophic.
But that's not who God is. He is the Father. And every good parent knows that loving your children often means saying No to them. Children not infrequently want what isn't good for them. Love even means letting them suffer something they don't understand (say, a baby getting a shot in the doctor's office), in order to prevent greater suffering.
While we may come to understand some of the good coming out of some suffering, we'll never understand it perfectly during our lifetime. I can't explain how certain horrible things could be good for us.
All I can do is point to the cross.
We may not always understand His plan, His permissive will, but we know that He hasn't asked us to do anything He hasn't done. His solidarity with us in suffering is clear. How many of us have suffered like He did?
He lives up to the name Emmanuel—God with us. In all things.
We must remember this, especially when things get hard. We feel like we can't manage it, we can't get through this crisis—because we can't. At least not by ourselves. But with Him, nothing is impossible (Mt 19:26). With Him, we can do anything He calls us to do, for He Himself will strengthen us (Phil 4:13).
Beyond that, His death
was not the end of the story, and neither is our suffering. Whatever we
may go through, big or small, will pass. And if we join it to His Cross,
then He will bring about a victory.
Every dark night ends with a sunrise. Everyone who dies to himself in Christ will rise with him.
"You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy, and that joy no one will take from you" (Jn 16:20).
Jesus, I trust in You; help me trust Your loving heart even more.