Suffering or disappointments are ubiquitous. In and of themselves, are not measurements of God's love or lack of love. Much like the man who was blind from birth in the bible (John 9), did he sin or did his parents sin or did God not love him?
It may be too one dimensional for us to measure God's love or lack of love for us by how our expectations of a desired life turned out. In fact, most of the time, we are unfair to God. Out of ten expectations, if God fulfilled nine, we would still think He is unfair. We would focus on the one unmet one, believing that it is more valuable to us than the other nine when in reality, if any of the nine is swapped with this particular one, we would likely think the same way. The unrealised one is always amplified, and its importance seems to grow until the joy of our life hangs on it.
We often wonder if God is all powerful, why can't He just make our suffering stop or cause my disappointments to go away. Surely He can intervene and change the course of our situations.
Perhaps the greatest weapon that Satan could wield at us is our contented worldliness. Not that God intentionally caused our sufferings and disappointments so that we would remain in Him, but He may have chosen not to intervene so that we are in touch with ourselves. The pains cause our search internally and with diligence and courage, we would find what causes the pains to magnify and by relying on God, find wholesome restoration. Then our souls find their places and we become undisturbed by circumstances.
In contrast, if God intervenes every suffering and disappointment and our lives turned out just the way we desire, there may be two detrimental possibilities. One, we would be drunk with our worldly happiness, blind to the state of our souls and be eternally lost. Two, we become spoilt brats because no one has to pay for any mistakes made, neither our own faults nor the errors of others. There are simply no consequences for any choices made. Then we would be truly evil. All of us would then require God's constant interventions to relieve us of the multiple poor decisions.
Our final destination will be where our heart is set on. If our heart is set on God, then all of life's circumstances, both good and bad, draw us to God. If our heart is set on ourselves, we will self-glorify in happy times and self-pity in challenging times. Imagine that relative, that friend or that colleague whose head swells bigger than his neck could hold in successes, how irritating, almost nauseating! Imagine that same person, in troubled times, oh the endless self-pity party! When our focus is on self, no matter what the circumstance is, we end up in self-destruction.
How to avoid deviating from the life God has set before us, here are some attempts which I find helpful:
Could we perhaps rephrase Romans 8:37-38 this way:
Let all of life be focussed on God; on Christ. Assured that He loves us, is with us and is in us. May we, even through our pains, be able to make sense of our godly appointments amidst our disappointments.
This is a note to myself, lest I lose my way in my disappointments as close friends would know where we have been hurting. Also a note to readers of this post, wherever your hurting or challenging point is, nothing separates you from the immense love of God. Maybe for some time now, our altered emotions (a feeling of a lack of love from God) betrays us but if you would guard your heart with the points above, you may discover that God's abiding love has always been with you.