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Seeing the Good in Suffering

By Katie Brown

I remember when I was younger my dad had a book on his bookshelf that always intrigued me. The book was titled Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? That title always made me think, and now that I’m older, sometimes the question still puzzles me.

If we dedicate our lives to the glory of God and do all we can to follow His plan for us, why do bad things still happen to us? I’ve seen horrible things happen to some of the best people in my life, and sometimes I don’t understand why God would allow them to happen. It particularly bothers me that abortion continues to take the lives of children every day, and even though it seems like we are doing all we can to stop it, it still continues to plague society.

But thankfully, God gives me the grace little by little to understand why bad things happen—even if I don’t like or enjoy the explanation.

Suffering is not necessarily a bad thing. We have been taught by the ease of modern life that any kind of inconvenience is bad, but this is not so. Suffering is essential to life and allows us to align our lives with Christ. Whether we realize it or not, suffering is actually a gift. God allows us to suffer with Christ on the cross, which is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do.

This allows us to turn our suffering into something good. Instead of just wallowing in our misfortune, we can offer it up and know that something good will come of it.

God will never give you something you can’t handle. This is something I need to tell myself quite often, but it’s true. If God is allowing you to suffer, then He will also give you the strength and the courage to overcome it.

Without suffering, we could never appreciate the good things God gives to us. So if you are going through something difficult, don’t give up. Even though bad things may happen to good people, that does not mean you cannot overcome it.

As Saint Padre Pio famously said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”