By Elisabeth Elliot
When I came to the realization that my husband was missing, not knowing for another five days that he was dead, the words that God brought to me then were from Isaiah the 43rd chapter, “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God” (Isa 43:2–3).
And I realized then that God was not telling me that everything was going to be fine, humanly speaking, that he was going to preserve my husband physically and bring him back to me. But he was giving me one unmistakable promise: I will be with you. For I am the Lord your God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself for me.
And so, we come back again to the terrible truth that there is suffering. The question remains, is God paying attention? If so, why doesn’t he do something? I say he has, he did, he is doing something, and he will do something.
The subject can only be approached by the cross. That old, rugged cross so despised by the world. The very worst thing that ever happened in human history turns out to be the very best thing because it saved me. . . . And so God’s love, which was represented, demonstrated to us in his giving his son Jesus to die on the cross, has been brought together in harmony with suffering. . . .
It’s only in the cross that we can begin to harmonize this seeming contradiction between suffering and love. And we will never understand suffering unless we understand the love of God.
This post is adapted from Suffering Is Never for Nothing, (B&H Books, 2019), by Elisabeth Elliot. The post’s title is the addition of an editor.