Today, I am on my way to yet another memorial service. I've been to several of these this year - each one as unique as the people themselves. This one, however, seems to be a bit harder. The man's death leaves behind a wife and several children. As I prepare myself to go and grieve with these friends, I ask the timeless question: why does God allow pain? For many years, I really feared the answer even though I asked it often. It seems as though a God of love shouldn't allow such things as often befall us in this life: loss, grief, death, betrayal, crime. Where is He when these things happen?
Over time, I have come to realize that, contrary as it may seem, God's purpose in allowing pain in our lives is actually for our own good, for our maturity. He desires for us to grow closer to Him and to each other. If pain did not exist, then there would be no need to run to the Savior. No reason to need a God to strengthen us, to comfort us, to love us, to be Himself for us. We would not come to understand what it means to have Him enter our suffering and give us hope.
A friend of mine who lives in Israel made a video sometime ago called "If God Is Love, Why Is There Pain?" I think he explains and answers this question well:
While I used to fear the seasons of pain in my life, I don't run from them as I once did. I have come to believe the truth behind that old saying, "Into each life some rain must fall." Without the adversity I once went through, I would not have come to appreciate and embrace the God who cares for me. I would never have come to know Grace. I am who I am because of the struggles I experienced and the lessons I learned while going through them.
As I go to this memorial service today, I am reminded of the fact that God will be a Husband to the widow and a Father to the fatherless. I am comforted by the hope that He will always be by our side and that He will never leave us, no matter how hard life gets. God always has a reason for the things He allows us to go through, and we must learn to trust Him, even when we don't fully understand. That act of faith, He will always bless.