God will sometimes allow suffering and sickness to get our attention!
For instance, we may be rebelling against Him, and He wants it to stop. This was the case with the reluctant prophet Jonah. Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word” (NIV). So the Lord may allow a hard situation to wake us up to our real need—even something as tragic as the death of a child.
One person whose child died wrote me saying,
“A person expects to lose a parent, maybe even a brother, sister, aunt, or uncle; but never a child. My son would have been 16 years old this year. It has been 15 years since his death. He was the person who brought me to the Lord. Because of his death I received my salvation. The comfort I found when I fell into God’s hands . . . God knows my pain; He lost a son too!”
“Fifteen years later . . . I still cry at Christmas; that’s when I remember his life and my loss. I still cry at Easter; that’s when I am assured I will see him again. I know I will never get over it because I don’t want to get over it. The intensity is less; but, like the joy of life takes the pain of birth away, I have found salvation through God’s Son because of the loss of mine!”
God used unimaginable tragedy to bring this person to the Lord. Maybe something radical or tragic has happened to you lately: the death of a loved one, bad news from a doctor, a close brush with death. Or maybe something else has gotten your attention, and you hurt! Perhaps your marriage failed, your parents divorced, you got fired, your girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you.
It’s possible that the Lord is trying to get your attention in all of this hardship. Remember that God is in control of all circumstances that surround the believer. As shown in the story of Job, the devil can do nothing in the life of the believer without express permission on the part of God.
But why would God give Satan that permission? Because Satan’s attacks will show what you are made of. It will separate the real from the false, the wheat from the tares. When attacked, a real believer will turn to God. A nonbeliever will turn against Him.
People react in different ways to crisis. It seems you either turn to the Lord, or against Him. And the result is you either get better or bitter. Suffering does not create character; it reveals it.