Q & A “How can we have hope in the midst of pain and suffering?”

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Question

Life is often full of pain, suffering and disappointment. So how can we have hope in this miserable existence?

Answer

To some extent I understand your disillusionment with life. We all experience two contrasting realities: the ideal and the real. The Ideal are those moments of glory that touch our deepest longings (the birth of a baby, falling in love, watching a beautiful sunset, etc.). However, these moments do not fully satisfy because they do not last and are overshadowed by the other reality in life – the real.

The Real are those moments in life (pain, suffering, death of a loved one, loss of a job, health crisis, etc.) that make us desire something better than this world.

The Bible tells us that we all will experience both moments of joy and pain in life (Ideal and Real):

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die … A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).

Obviously, this raises the question, if God is all-powerful and all-loving then why do we have to experience these contrasting realities? The short answer is we are not always given full clarity on the WHY, but we can know the WHO.

The Who for me is the person of Jesus Christ. Through my own questions and experiences of brokenness in this life, I have found in Him a HOPE and JOY that transcends this world.

The power of the Christian faith is seen in God’s response to our pain where HE gave up his very life to redeem us. Through His death comes life and a hope of living in a world where the Ideal will no longer be overshadowed by the Real.

So, my simple answer to the Whys of your life is the Who… Because you will find in Him not only your value and purpose, but your ultimate destiny!

Like you, I yearn for a world without pain and suffering. While this will become a future actuality, there is still an ongoing need of finding rest in Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30).

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