Every time I opened my Instagram app and saw the next HONY post, I would freeze and hold my breath until I was done reading it, my belly would twist into a knot, and then a few drops of tears would follow. That is how painful the stories from Rwanda were.
Now if you live under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, abeg just go and read the posts and come back here later. There are no words in the English dictionary to describe what agony and trauma the Rwandans endured. At the end of the day, I just had to ask – why? God, why? Why would God allow Claudine, an eighteen year old girl, watch her father get killed by a machete, her brother get burned alive, and her other seven family members get tortured to their death, including her almost two year old brother? Why would God allow children from an orphanage home get tortured to their death while other children watched such agony? Just why? If you are a Rwandan reading this, I want to say “I’m sorry”.
I don’t have answers, but I have five thoughts to share not just on the experience in Rwanda but also on when we experience suffering in life.
- God is sovereign. The depth of His wisdom is way beyond what we can comprehend. He could give us an explanation, but our minds are so limited in what it can grasp. It’s almost like trying to explain to a two month old baby why we are inflicting so much pain on them through their immunization shots. I don’t care how excellent a communicator you are, they still won’t get it. They simply don’t have the capacity to understand it. Sometimes we just don’t know why, and we have to trust that God is still in control.
- Free will. God is good. The heart of man however, is desperately wicked. Now the good God has given the wicked man free will, and sent Jesus as a perfect example for us to follow. Jesus urged us to do as He did. But did we listen? No. The result is what happened in Rwanda. Man turned away from God, wrongfully exercised their free will, and innocent people suffered. God is powerful enough to stop suffering, but He has given us the free will to make choices.
- A Lesson? Maybe God is trying to say something, or teach us something through our pain? I can’t even fathom what this could be to the Rwandans and I wouldn’t buy this reason if I were in their shoes, but just maybe?
- Reliance on God. Perhaps God is bringing us to our utmost low so that we can rely on Him and His strength in our weakness? We don’t have to suffer alone, or without hope because we have Him.
- The Full Picture. Perhaps God allows suffering because it will accomplish something greater later? It may make no sense to us now, but maybe it will a few months from now? Or maybe even to future generations when the full picture comes together?
Here are some resources that may help if you are going through some kind of suffering:
- Hope in the Dark. Believing God is Good When Life is Not. By Craig Groeschel.
- Where is God When it Hurts? By Philip Yancey.
Do you agree with these thoughts? Why do you think God permits suffering?