Pentecost 15, Tuesday, Year B

Inspired by Isaiah 38:10-20

“Surely it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but you have held back my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17 (NRSV)

Why do bad things happen to good people? That question has been asked for as long as humans have existed. When we suffer tragedy, illness, or any other affliction, it’s only natural to call out to God, why me?

Some of us are able to answer that question to our own satisfaction. We may take comfort in the idea that God has a plan, or that this is in response to something we’ve done, or in preparation for something we’ll have to deal with later.

Others of us are perplexed by a loving God who allows such suffering, and have difficulty reconciling the goodness of God with the pain we feel. We might blame God, or lash out at him in anger.

All of these responses bring us closer to God, as we wrestle with understanding and acceptance. And whatever its ultimate cause, when our suffering is over we are able to better appreciate our wellness, and the many blessings in our lives. When we have lived with the reality that we might not see another day dawn, experiencing the sunrise is an event that fills us with joy and thanksgiving. Whatever petty complaints we may have had before pale in importance, and we realize that life’s too precious to waste regretting the past or railing against those things we simply cannot change. While not necessarily the reason for our suffering, the perspective we gain from it is a blessing to be celebrated.

Let us pray. Tender Lord, you are with us when we rejoice, and you are with us when we cry out. Help us to turn to you whatever our circumstances, that we may see the blessings you provide in every situation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.