Suffering Children

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son… ESV John 3:16

Yesterday morning, I sat with a mother who had suddenly lost her son. Words can’t describe a mother’s grief at finding her son an hour too late. As I sat with her, I considered the love I have for my own children, and considered the great pain I endure as they suffer. Sometimes they suffer as a result of their own sin or stupidity (car wrecks, drugs, etc.). Other times, they suffer because others sin against them (bullying, sexual abuse, etc.). Other times they suffer because of the curse (cancer, mental illness, etc.). Regardless, watching our children suffer causes great agony within us, because most of the time, we are powerless to help.

Lest we become completely overwhelmed, let’s look to God our Father. Never forget He watched His only Son suffer for the sins of the world. He watched His Son be framed for something He didn’t do, be stripped and mercilessly flogged, and finally nailed to a cross until he gruesomely breathed His last and perished. When we see our children suffering, and feel like others don’t understand (and they probably don’t), let us look to Father God and know He understands. Perhaps this is part of our spiritual formation. Perhaps this is one way God allows us to begin to grasp the infinite price He paid for our salvation. Perhaps as we agonize with God, we realize He not only understands what we are going through, but also that He went through something similar–for us.

While we never fully understand why our children suffer, and while it will never be easy, may we find hope in God. We can be assured our children will suffer in many ways. When they are young, it’s usually scraped knees that while we can’t heal on the spot, we can put on band-aids and lots of kisses and comfort them. As they grow their suffering turns to rejection when their girlfriend dumps them. Here we can’t fix it quite as well as scraped knees, but perhaps we can listen, offer advice, and go out for milk shakes. As they grow, however, their suffering becomes more acute, and we are less able to help. At these times, we must entrust them to our God, and cling to Him ourselves. He knows what you are enduring, my friend.


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