"Why All This Affliction, Lord?"

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1 Pet. 1:6-7) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  (James 1:2-4)

As a young mother, I tried to do everything right for my sweet, baby boy, even the things that were difficult. On one occasion I took him for an immunization; I believe he was about nine months old. I was trying to distract him when the nurse put the needle in his chubby thigh. His only response was that he frowned at me. If he could have put his confusion into words, and if he could have spoken those words, he might have said, “Mother, why are you allowing this pain to be inflicted on me?” or “What have I done to deserve this?” or “Don't you love me? Don't you care that I’m hurting?!”

I knew he didn’t understand what was happening, but he didn’t need to understand; he didn’t need to know that he was being spared from a greater problem down the road. It was enough that I understood, and I made the decision to subject him to a comparatively little bit of pain now, in order to protect him from the threat of a serious illness or death, in the future.

Years later, the Lord opened my eyes to the similarity between my motherly act of subjecting my child to a stranger who put a painful needle into his leg, and the sufferings that I face. My Heavenly Father allows hardships to “assault” me at times. Occasionally I bear painful consequences of my own making (He doesn't always bail me out of the tight spots I get into). As a loving Father, He does all these things for two important reasons: my good and His glory. But it doesn't stop there; He picks me up and holds me close to His heart when I’m hurting; He comforts me with His loving presence through the process of painfully making me more like Himself, all the while protecting me from eternal death.