Gloria and I are vacationing at the Outer Banks in NC. We are with four out of five of our kids (and their spouses/fiancé), and all five of our grandchildren. One does not normally gain insights on suffering when on vacation unless he gets sunburned or eats bad sushi, however, yesterday I experienced something that gave me such an insight.
I was standing in the ocean about waist deep keeping an eye on my grandson and granddaughter playing in the shallower surf- my back to the open sea. Suddenly, I was hit by a breaker square in the back and it sent me hurtling towards shore. It knocked my prescription glasses off as well as my New England Patriots cap (some of you are happy about that).
I wasn’t hurt, but I was stunned and practically blind without my glasses which I immediately tried to find. Then I was hit with another wave and then another. Finally, I stood up (which I should have done in the first place) and began to search for my glasses to no avail. Fortunately, however, I have two pairs of contact lenses with me.
I was reminded of Job’s experience when his initial suffering came in such sharp succession- where one messenger told him of a tragedy, then another, and another…like waves crashing over him without mercy. And in subsequent chapters, though Job maintained his faith his sight was affected. “Behold I go forward but He is not there; and backward, but I do not see Him” (23:9, 10).
In Psalm 42:7 the writer describes his difficulties this way: “All your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” And Jonah quotes this very verse when he was in the belly of the great fish. “For you have cast me into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me” (2:3).
Have you ever felt like that in your suffering- wave upon wave? Have you looked for God in your suffering but have not been able to find him? Though there are no easy answers for what you are experiencing, I have found it helpful to stand up or stand on what you know to be true, while you are trying to deal with all the things you do not understand. And like the Psalmist, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (42:11).
That is my insight; now I am going back out to the beach to look for my glasses.