Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12th July

Ok, so how on earth do you counsel a cat? He’s refusing to eat normally and though he was rather overweight is now getting rather bony. He wanders around the house I reckon looking for Jane and her mum. He looks basically quite healthy and sleeps a lot but he’s started howling, standing in our hallway and giving out the most heart-wrenching cry. But what can I do? I continue to buy all sorts of premium brand cat-food which he ignores for a few hours until really hungry. I let him sit on my lap for an hour whilst I was reading though I don’t really like it and he knows, but at least when I put him down he went straight to the previously untouched and quite expensive food I’d put out. And now I’m wondering who’s in charge, is this some clever psychological game my cat’s playing on me?

I heard a really sad story today. A really nice friendly guy I knew some years ago moved away and ended up joining the same church as one of my daughters. Over time he found a wife and started a family. In their first attempt she was expecting twins but a month before full term they died and that was tragic. Eventually they had another child who was born with serious health problems and has suffered enormously needing total care for all that time. The child died quite recently after 6 very trying years, never even learning to talk. So the question has to be asked. Why does God allow such suffering especially by those who are so obviously innocent of any wrongdoing and have absolutely no control over their own destiny?

As I was driving home I started thinking about this question one more time and thought about the scale of suffering that the whole world suffers from. It’s not just me with a wife who’s died prematurely, or the young couple who only ever wanted to raise healthy children in a Christian environment. There are billions of people living in abject poverty, many in famine conditions without access to clean water. There are innocent victims of war suffering right now in conflicts all across the globe. Honest politicians, businessman, bankers, media personnel, indeed those from any and every walk of life seem to be few and far between. We all suffer the consequences of corruption and theft in high places. Not to mention bullying in schools, the workplace or even on the M1! It struck me that although there is a lot of good in the world it certainly does not restrain or ameliorate the suffering that we see all around us.

There are times when God does deliver the afflicted and I pray that I might have the honour of being a chosen instrument to serve him in that way for others as often as possible. But it seems that more often the Lord chooses to walk with us through our suffering, painful as it is. The whole world is filled with suffering and we share in it and are not defeated by it for his glory.

Romans 8:38-39 ‘And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (NLT)

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