"Where is God when we hurt?"
Our world reeks of disease, sickness, viruses, germs. Life isn't lived under a disease-free dome. We catch colds from one another; our bodies are disease prone because of genetics; toxins poison our air, food, and water.
Sooner or later, in one way or another, we get sick--sometimes mildly sick, seriously sick, or terminally sick. When we're sick we hurt.
So, where is God when we hurt? Has he left town? Is he unconcerned? Do more important matters summon his attention?
Jesus cared about sick people. He healed hundreds---individually, sometimes every sick person in a village. Compassion, not success or notoriety, motivated him. Jesus healed because he cared.
Does Jesus still care when we hurt? Paul wrote, "Love never dies." If that's true, then Jesus still cares for sick and hurting persons.
Then why doesn't God heal our hurts? Anemic faith? Maybe. We're in the school of suffering? Maybe. God deleted supernatural healing from his menu? Maybe. Not everyone, even with strong faith, is healed? Maybe.
Paul was no stranger to pain: "I was given the gift of a handicap." He hurt. His pain limited his activity and worked on his emotions: "Satan's angel did his best to get me down." Discouragement camped around his soul.
Paul "begged God to remove it." He did what we do. What sane person enjoys pain? And God answered Paul's persistent begging: "then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all your need. My strength comes unto its own in your weakness" (2 Cor. 12).
Healing withheld. God offered his child a dose of strong-grace instead. And to chase away the demon of despair, Paul was expected to gab God's enabling-grace--strong enough to help him take the next step.
When getting rid of our pain is all we think about we're in danger of missing Christ's strength moving in on our weakness. Only when we let Jesus take over can we duplicate Paul's experience--"the weaker I get, the stronger I become."