So, in the series “The Chronicles Of Narnia”, there is Aslan, who is a Christ figure or the God figure in the series, and Lucy, who is a little girl in the story, asked the question, “Is Aslan safe?” And the reply back is, “No, he’s not safe, but he is good,” and I think that is often our struggle in the midst of suffering, is to understand how God’s promises of protection also pair with the passages in scripture that talk about the fact that we will have suffering, and we will have trials and tribulation, and as a matter of fact, we should expect it, and how do we make sense out of all of those experiences and trust God in the midst of it? And I think that’s where it really does come down to the character of God that we put our hope in, not the content of our circumstances.
So, there was a book I read called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs, and he addresses this. He says, “What do you do when, “with God’s promise of protection when evil befalls us?” And for both the Christian and the non-Christian we experience the evil of this world, but for the Christian, the promise is that God will take the evil out of it, and I really loved how he said that ’cause it brought to mind Corinthians where it says, “Death, where is your victory?” And I think, “Well, death does seem to have victory. “Yet, it doesn’t have final say. “It doesn’t have final victory,” and I think the same is true of our sufferings, of evil that is done to us, of the brokenness of the world, that God takes what is evil, and he is able to do something good in our lives with it, and there’s the story of scripture, right? Through Esther, and Joseph, and many stories that there are hard things that happen.
There’s evil that happens, but it doesn’t have final say. God’s able to remove the sting from it, and I think we’ve got to have that kind of confidence and hope, while also still being able to say, “But evil’s evil, “and suffering is suffering,” and it doesn’t negate the pain of it. It just reorients us to where our hope lies.