Without a doubt, suffering is inescapable. In the Bible, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33). It doesn’t take many years to discover his words were, in fact, true.
However, when hit with unexpected, inexplicable suffering, the struggle to make sense of it is enormous. The vast majority of the time it doesn’t make sense. It appears random, cold, and ruthless. As a result, we feel victims of chance, and often turn bitter, cynical, withdrawn.
If you’ve ever wrestled with doubt, questioned God’s reality or goodness, and wondered if this oft-hard life has any true meaning at all whatsoever, you’re in good company here. My faith has taken a beating more than once over the course of my life, and at times I wondered if it would stand. You will find no judgment or shame from my tiny little corner of the world.
But I hope you do find companionship and a friend who understands, at least a little bit.
A few months ago, I sat down with Colleen Swindoll-Thompson of Insight for Living’s “Reframing Ministries.” This is perhaps the most comprehensive interview I’ve given regarding my health journey and the faith struggle that resulted. Her purpose? To have an honest and unafraid conversation about some of the tensions that arise when people of faith encounter impossible circumstances. A few of the questions she pointed to me included:
- How have you struggled to accept what God has allowed to happen to you?
- How has God revealed Himself to you through this journey?
- Why is faith in Jesus Christ essential when we encounter trials?
- How does Scripture define comfort, and how does the Bible’s definition differ from how we usually think about it?
- How has your cancer journey given you a new perspective on God’s grace?
- How did people help you when you were recovering from treatment?
- While you were recovering from treatment, what things did people do that wasn’t helpful for you?
- How has your cancer journey changed your prayer life?
- How has God used your cancer to bring about positive changes in you?
- What encouragement can you give someone who is going through a difficult trial?
If one or more of these questions resonate with you, I think you’ll find a safe haven of conversation in the video below. And, if we didn’t cover a question you have, don’t be afraid to post it in the comments. I won’t have all the answers, but it’d be my honor to sit with you in the not-knowing.
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Where have you struggled to reconcile your faith as a result of unexplainable circumstances?