Ecclesiastes 7:13-14: Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
I often wonder why really bad things happen to good people. Or why bad things happen to people that already have enough problems and obstacles to overcome in their daily lives. Why did the impoverished nation of Haiti have to be hit with the earthquake? Why does God allow young children to be stricken with some terrible disease or allow an older person to end their life in terrible pain and suffering? Why did terrorists attack our country on September 11, 2001? Why do our faithful brothers and sisters in Liberia, West Africa continue to struggle to put food on their table or to get basic healthcare, everyday?
These type of questions are not anything new to our present generation. In Luke chapter 13, Jesus was being questioned about why a particular group of Galileans were murdered by Pilate. Where they bad people, where their sins greater than the average Galilean? And why were eighteen innocent people killed when the Tower of Siloam fell on an unsuspecting crowd? Did these eighteen people do something so bad that God decided to punish them in this fashion?
Jesus refused to answer these “why” questions. Instead he wants us to train our mind to focus not on the “why” but on how to live our lives amidst all of the pain and suffering of this world that we live in. Jesus wants us to know and believe that God is not absent from us, that God is standing right there with us in the midst of our suffering. God is there to love us and to shower us with His diving mercy and His divine blessings. We will have to endure some suffering during our lives, but in the end it will somehow make us better and stronger followers of Christ.
My mother has been in two different hospitals and rehab for eight weeks now. Being the only child, the duties of taking care of her has fallen directly on me. I have always thought of myself as a strong person, but these last eight weeks have put that to the ultimate test. There are those days when I wonder if I will have the strength to get up out of bed in the morning. Somehow I manage to get up, go to work, pick the kids up from school and still find time to check on my mother at least two or three times a day.
In our scripture reading today we are reminded that there will be good days and also bad days. The writer of Ecclesiastes encourages us to remember that our same loving and caring God is the creator of both types of times. We cannot begin to understand why God allows bad things to happen, but I continue to trust and believe that God will get me through those bad days, and I know that I will emerge a stronger person of faith because of those trying and difficult times.
Paul, in Romans chapter 11, gives us a beautiful scripture of the knowledge and wisdom of God. Romans 11:33-36: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.