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O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity…

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity…

All of us have had periods in our lives when it has seemed to us that this ascertain was not true. “What’s going on here?” we angrily ask ourselves or someone close to us. “Why am I being singled out for suffering and pain? What kind of a God permits this?”

You don’t have to ask this question for very long at all before you realize that it doesn’t take you anywhere. It demands a sensible answer to human suffering, and human suffering is not sensible. A compassionate God doesn’t make human suffering into a good thing; it’s still bad. Our choice is not between suffering and not suffering; it’s between meaning and not meaning. When we lose everything, we still do not lose God; it is this in which God’s compassion is shown to us.

It takes some time for most of us to encompass this truth. I know that sounds anything but comforting to those who suffer and have not encompassed it. “I don’t want Compassion Presence,” they wail. “I just want to stop hurting!” Everyone hurts at one time or another; some seem to get more than their share of sorrow. God’s own Son was no exception to this human reality.

When something lays me low, I am not comforted by repeatedly asking Why me? I can begin to be comforted only when I begin to ask Where is God in the midst of this?

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