Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do people suffer? Why is this happening to me?
The age old questions. We have heard them all our lives. Maybe you’ve asked them yourself at one time or another.
I know I have.
But then, I found the answer.
When our son was 5, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. In some ways, his diagnosis answered our many questions about why our boy struggled so. In other ways, it brought on more questions about what we should do next, how could we help him, what his future would be like.
Occasionally I would find myself having a moment of wondering why this would happen to our son, to our family. Why?
Please know that I do not want to change him, because part of what makes him such an incredible kid is his Asperger’s. But there have been times when I’ve watched him struggle and wished he did not have to, like, for example, one of the many times we have been in a restaurant having a perfectly wonderful time and a ridiculously loud woman two tables over guffaws incessantly and assaults my boy’s sensitive ears until he runs screaming out of the restaurant.
Now, with Jesus, lots of work, counseling, practice and medication, that has not happened in, well, right now I cannot recall the last time that happened. In the last 3 years, Jacob, now 17, has grown by leaps and bounds. To God be the glory! But I am not so far removed from those “bolting moments” that I have forgotten the pain and the embarrassment—both for him and for us.
And then, one day a few years ago, I found this passage of scripture from John 9:1-7.
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him,“wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Here it was! The answer to why these things happen, from the mouth of Jesus himself. The words leaped off the page. There was such relief in my heart as I read those words.
“This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
He wants to display His works in my son! In me! In the life of our family!
God wants to give you a story.
He wants to display His works in you, in your children and loved ones, in your deepest, darkest, most hurt places, so that as you walk through those trials you can come out the other side with a testimony to God’s love, mercy and faithfulness.
This does not mean he will make the suffering go away, as he did for the blind man, but it does not mean He won’t. It means He will work in you so that you can walk through it, depend on Him, learn and grow. And share your story.
Your story will not look like everyone else’s. But rest assured, you will have a story.
A story of victory, what He taught you in that trial and how you grew in your faith. How He sustained you in a time when you were at the very end of it all. A story that you can share with those who come after you.
To give God the glory He deserves.
To encourage others.
To tell them that they are not alone in their pain and suffering.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8
What’s your story?