We are blessed with a wonderful community of believers at St Columba’s, all with different backgrounds and experiences but united by a love for Christ. There is an abundance of stories we could tell of God working in our lives and, here, one of our members shares their experience of family members who have found a deep hope in Christ, even amidst great suffering.
Offering your one and only
Anyone who knows my aunt would have no doubts that she leads a life of suffering - just look at her children. She lost two as infants, and later on, a son in the bloom of his youth. More recently, she was asked to give up her son to terminal stomach cancer. This is not just her loss. It is a loss for his wife and their 3 young daughters. Not only are the goodbyes hard to cope with, but the symptoms of his disease were unbearable to live with even for his remaining counted days. He craved food but nothing would go down his obstructed stomach. He thirsted but not even water had a passage. His family grieved with bitterness but they were not to be criticised. After all, who would even attempt to suggest one good thing could come out of this?
People often ask: “If God is a loving God, then why do bad things happen?” We may not know the answer but we know what the answer is not; that God does not care. He is a God who came to earth as Jesus and permitted bad, even horrible, things to happen to him. Why? He did so for you and me. It is the most conclusive proof that he aches and cares for us. His suffering provides the ultimate good, our adoption, which when placed in perspective, gives us hope in all circumstances.
As my cousin approached the end of his life; something changed in his heart. He began to grasp and see a saviour who also suffered and thirsted, but all alone. This gave him hope not just for himself, but also for those he was leaving behind. As he looked forward to an eternal life, he knew that God would take care of his daughters, wife and parents more than he would have done if he was to live to old age. His message to us goes in line with what has been said before: “You may never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have”.
When Abraham was asked to give his only son or to live as a stranger in the promised land, he focused his eyes on an eternal life; one that surpasses the beauty and longevity of the one we currently live in. My cousin’s hope was contagious. It encouraged and focused the eyes of those around him.
Has God asked you to give up one thing; perhaps the one thing you cling to for your happiness? Is it a spouse, job promotion, relationship, family member, wealth, qualification or outward beauty? Have people tried to reason with your suffering but their efforts were in vain? Bring your questions to the one who knows exactly what you are going through