Standing by the bed of a sick person, very often I hear his weeping: “Why is this abomination happening to me; what have I done, and what sin against God have I committed to deserve this torture?” Feeling, with every single atom of my heart, the empathy with the ill, there is no other way but to reply, clearly and directly: “Because He loves you, because his love for you is infinite.” At his/hers bewilderment and disbelief, I direct him/her to Apostle Paul and his words: “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb 12:5-7 (KJV)
I tell him of suffering Jobe and considerable number of reasons that can be the source of suffering. To every sick and healthy sufferer, I behest to slowly read the book of Job, and from there to move onto Psalms and Holly scripture of the New testament, if there is solace that is where it will be found.
Reasons for sinners suffering are countless. Not one of us simple mortals can say that he is without sin. We are reminded by King David, that in sin we were conceived and born. (Psalms 50, 5) From his first cry to last whimper, man sins daily. Only God is without sin.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”, (1 John 1:8 (KJV) reminds us St. John the evangelist.
There are rare people whom, according to our moral standards, we can deem righteous; the ones living humbly and unpretentious, obeying Gods law within all their might, they produce and still suffer, writhe, and in the end close their tired eyes due to some serious illness. Holly scripture teaches us that they have, through God’s love and mercy, put to the true test to prove their faith with deeds. “It is easy to be good in good times, it is in torment that heroes are distinguished.” So says our native proverb. And St. Peter the apostle is inviting us to rejoice in the Lord even though we are few. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9 (KJV)
In the example of Paul the Apostle we see that tribulation is allowed for our own good, to curb our loftiness and pride. One of our proverbs says: “Might does not pray to God”. The Apostle was taken to third heaven and has seen indescribable beauty of paradise. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (KJV) To keep him from being puffed up with pride because of many wonderful things he saw, God allowed a stinger into his body – painful physical ailment – which Satan used to torment him with. This is reinforced by suffering Job. God allows torment of righteous “to dissuade them from their deeds and shield him from haughtiness, so as to save his soul from the precipice and his life from the sword. And he rebukes him through pain on his sick bed, and painful ailment in all his bones, so that he detests the bread while his soul is yearning for a meal.
As much as he is troubled by his tribulations, man is dismayed to see sinners and godless – as suffering Jobe remarked – live their days well and good. Prophet Jeremiah weeps to God in heavens: “Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jer 12:1 (KJV)
Fact that blasphemers live, age and accumulate wealth (Job 21: 7) was disturbing even to repentant David, to such a degree that in one moment it unsettled his faith in God’s justice.
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalms 73:2-3 (KJV)
David was allowed to confirm for himself the sorry end of the sinners. “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalms 73:17-20 (KJV) “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Psalms 37:35-36 (KJV)
If after all this, there is still doubt and non-acceptance, Paul the apostle, assures us that if somebody endures pain or undeserved suffering, conscious of God’s will, will be blessed. “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1 Peter 2:19-20 (KJV)
Putting in front of us, the Christ’s cross on which our Lord was crucified for our salvation, we are reminded by the Church that for true Christians there is nothing but to accept their suffering without doubt and grudge. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12 (KJV)