Who here has never endured pain and suffering? Fact is, if you are breathing, you'll have experienced these maladies of life.
As I understand the Bible, it (pain and suffering) was never part of the original design of God. God allowed an open door through which humanity could proceed to make choices that could lead to genuine unity with God or have humanity run headlong into pain and suffering. The first ill choice of Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis charted all of creation on a pain filled trajectory. [Before we beat the first couple up for their stupidity, know that we would have done likewise] It is a given that pain is a constant companion. If that were all of the story, we should all throw in the towel right now.
Often, we will remember the pain of our bad choices or another's bad decisions. It is easy to roll in dark places of the past and look at all the terrible situations we have endured. There is that word....endured. Don't stop believing! There's hope!
Balanced remembering forces us to not look just at our pain and suffering but to acknowledge the grace of God in those moments. It is fair to do so. God's open door afforded us the opportunity to experience creation in all its glory. This freedom is the best expression of God's love I can think of at the present. The opposite of freedom would be if God set strict guidelines then made us obedient little robots. Sounds a little cold and disconnected to me. God chooses connection with His creation. In this connection we find balance and hope. Check out the words of the great lamenter of the Old Testament:
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my
soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD'S great
love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your
faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:19-23, NIV)
The author remembered the bad and acknowledged it, then calls to mind God's great love.
In the midst of pain and affliction, it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge God's abiding presence.
God's mercies are new every morning. Gather those promises each day and live with a heart of peace and an eye on that which is yet to be experienced.
Balanced remembering pushes us beyond the limiting power of pain and suffering to embrace God's goodness and faithfulness. Today, if your life is filled with all the things you never asked for or wanted, stop and "call to mind and therefore have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed."