Arizona. One of the hardest conversations to have sometimes are when people experience loss or misfortune and attribute it to God. “Why would God allow something like this to happen?” they ask. They are angry with God, and turn their backs on Him. What we don’t realize is that sometimes God allows suffering to take place for our sanctification. In scripture we see Job being tempted by his wife after his various catastrophic misfortunes–his children killed, his livestock gone, and suffering from physical ailments–to “curse God and die.” But Job refuses, saying, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)
As we will see, such times can be a ripe opportunity to sow the seed of faith even in the midst of trial and hardship among God’s people, and to share in the humanity that God Himself took upon Himself in Jesus Christ.
This report comes from SPSE evangelist Nancy in Arizona:
“A man came to the booth and didn’t take anything but said, “To tell the truth, I’m mad at God right now.” I asked if I could walk with him for a bit as he was looking out for his children. I’d never asked anyone to do that before.
As we walked, I started talking to him about suffering. We don’t have a choice but to suffer in life. Jesus and His Mother suffered through no fault of their own. If they suffered, then why shouldn’t the rest of us. If we didn’t suffer, no one would have to show compassion (a quote from Fr. Spitzer). I then asked why he was angry. He shared some of his sorrows and disappointments with me. I then said, “Life is very difficult but I ask myself where else would I go. The Church is the one founded by Jesus Christ. He was baptized Catholic and asked me if I knew a Church in his part of town. I named a few and he left.
A few hours later, he came back to our table and I was happy to see him and said, “Oh, you’re back.” He asked again if I knew of a church in his area. Though we could have looked it up, another evangelist got his contact information and said he’d find a church near him and get back to him. This will give us another point of contact with him rather than looking it up right there.”
Praised be Jesus Christ! We should take to heart the expression of Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Do not waste your sorrows without offering them up for the sanctification of souls! And cling to Christ in all things, even when you feel abandoned and faith does not come easy. Ask, like the man above, “Where is a Church? Where is Jesus?” and run to him. He suffered and died that we might have life, and life abundant! (John 10:10)