“All Authority in Heaven and Earth” (using the melody from “Great and Marvellous”) Risen! The Musical featuring the London Touring Cast, The New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Great and Marvellous -from the album “Love is the Way” featuring the Mustard Seed Girls Choir recorded at the 2000 Millennium Concert at the Crofton Sports Hall, Stubbington
I hope you enjoyed my funny story in last week’s blog, however this week I wish to return to the serious issue of how we deal with suffering. I have already posted 16 messages on the subject but had further insight when attending another session at Holy Rood Church on “God’s Strategy In Human History.”
You may have heard of the story of Job. He was a righteous man before God but he suffered horrifically. His so called friends told him on numerous occasions that God was punishing him for doing something or somethings bad in his life. Job accepted that he was not at all perfect but he refused to believe that he had done anything so bad as to be punished in such horrific ways (all his children were killed and he was covered with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. “Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat amongst the ashes.”) Nevertheless in all his sufferings, although naturally asking God why, oh why, never once did he denounce God, but instead put his trust in Him.
Now you will have to read the Bible account to find out why it was that Job suffered in this way (but without spoiling the story you will no doubt be pleased to discover that all ended well with Job and that he was fully restored to good health and made even more prosperous than he had been before.)
So this story tells us that sometimes we are called to suffer without really knowing why and that even in suffering it is still possible to trust in God.
There are other occasions in the Bible, notably the miracles of Jesus, when people suffering in all sorts of ways are healed. Divine healing still happens today and comes about when someone(s) stands before God and prays for healing for the sick person. We know that sometimes by God’s grace healing does take place but then sometimes it does not- how can we make sense of that? Well I suppose if every time we prayed for someone to be healed and they were then we would not need medicine or doctors, we would just need to pray – which could make prayer more like a magic spell rather than a heartfelt cry to God. On the other hand if prayer never resulted in healing then it would, at least for that purpose, become redundant.
So I suppose the point here is that praying for healing is something we are called to do, but that it is God not us who does the healing. He tells us “ As the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your own” so our responsibility is not to question why He sometimes heals and sometimes does not but to pray and accept the answer. So sometimes there will be healing and sometimes there will not and when not then we are back where Job was – suffering without knowing why, but still, despite everything, trusting in God and the fact that God is good, or as Rev. Richard England often says “God is good but life is sometimes bad.”