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Have you ever experienced real tragedy?

If you live long enough, you will.

It’s a given. It’s part of the human experience.

Faith in God doesn’t promise us a pain-free life. In fact, the Christian view of this world, this mortal existence, is a view of a vale of tears.

Many books have been written about why bad things happen to good people.

Personally, I could never understand why.

Bad things happen to all people. So what’s the mystery?

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The greatest person who ever walked the face of the earth, the son of God, who condescended into mortality for the express purpose of relieving pain and suffering and offering an eternal life free of them, lived a sinless life of perfection. Yet He was scourged and tortured more than any man who ever lived, so much so that He could not be recognized, then was crucified.

And we still ask why bad things happen to good people?

God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

I think most people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what this life is all about.

I think of it as a dress rehearsal, a training camp, a time of preparation – not so much as the real thing or the only experience.

After all, the Bible tells us we live in a fallen world. God created perfection, but man fell short. Now we’re part of a redemption plan He has created for us. There will be pain involved. He promised it.

Have you ever wondered why animals seem to give birth so effortlessly, while women experience great anguish and pain in the delivery process?

The Bible tells explains it as part of the judgment for the fall of man.

On the other hand, God gives us rules for this life. He promises that we will have life and have it more abundantly if we follow those rules. That means our life will be better in this world and the next if we’re obedient. But it won’t be without pain and suffering.

So where is the hope?

The hope is only in a life devoted to God.

Without God, there is no hope. Life is meaningless. The most you can ever hope to experience is what you have already experienced. The pleasures you can ever hope to experience are those you have already experienced. Life is short, and then you die.

On the other hand, not only does a life with God never end, but the promise is that it gets better in the next world – when we lose this life.

But there’s more hope and comfort from God than just that promise. For we know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”

He also promises us in this life a peace that passes all understanding.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Can we always see that hope?

No, in fact the Bible tells us we’re not meant to see it.

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Maybe this all sounds trite to you. It can when you are experiencing pain. But this, too, shall pass. There is hope, and what you are experiencing now is, ironically, evidence of that promise.

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