God Himself causes our suffering. He is not the cause of sin, mind you, but He is the cause of our suffering. [p.32] Those are the words of Dr. Gregory Schulz in his book The Problem of Suffering: A Father’s Hope.
As I read Dr. Schulz’s book, I began to think he had a window to my heart. As he shared the struggles of pain and suffering surrounding the death of two of his children, he asked why these things could happen. I asked that same question surrounding my barrenness. He wrote based on his experiences as a father and a husband. He asked why suffering happens. He questioned suffering in the world. I asked those very same things. Dr. Schulz pointed me to Jesus, the only relief from suffering.
We experience death, pain, sorrow, and grief. How can suffering come from God? Suffering is real. Suffering hurts. Suffering drives us to our knees. Suffering demonstrates to us that we are mortal. We cannot cure every disease. We cannot prevent death. We cannot administer the drug that takes away aches and pains.
No, our only relief lies in Jesus Christ. He took all of our sin sicknesses and sufferings and ingested them into Himself on the cross – for us. We are made holy in our baptisms. Once baptized, though, we are signed up for a lifetime of suffering.
There is great temptation to say that our suffering will come to a fairy-tale ending in this world. On the contrary, in this world we will have pain and sorrow. It would be foolish to insist that our suffering is going to have a glorious finish. This is a sinful world, and while we dwell in it, we will not be safe from sin. When the body and soul of the believer in Christ are united with Jesus, THEN all suffering will end. This is why we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “But deliver us from evil.” True relief is peace in Christ.
In this world, we will experience disappointment, heartache, death, miscarriage, and so much more. Take heart, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, you are not alone. Dr. Schulz writes: “…even the Gospel doesn’t give us absolute rest as long as we are away from home in this vale of tears. It can and does bring us the Good News of Jesus, the rest for our souls, but we still experience anger and anxiety.” [p.124] He continues: “My joy is not complete. It cannot be, until God grants us all a blessed reunion in heaven.” [p.125] God does not abandon you. He loves you, and He understands your suffering.
I commend this book to you. Grieve with Dr. Schulz. Live under the cross of Jesus until He takes you to Himself, where all suffering ends.