Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.

Sometimes we experience times where there’s no silver lining in the clouds, like thinking about the 911 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center when 2,763 people were killed and there was $30.5 billion in damages. There were 7 buildings destroyed including countless historical documents of 21 libraries, public and private works of art, records from financial agencies and the CIA. A poem was written that tries to describe what happened on 911.

I Stare in Total Disbelief, (by unknown author)

“I stare in total disbelief, heart torn with instant grief. Plumes of black smoke fill the air, marking a building no longer there. I close my eyes, I want to pray, but my mind doesn’t know what to say. Much like Pearl Harbor, so many years ago, so many gone with one fatal blow. There are no words to explain, there are no words to ease the pain. To those who gave their lives, Mothers, Fathers, Husbands and Wives, to all who’s lives today did cease, may your soul find instant peace. We will honor you and the life you gave, as a Patriot of “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

God uses all things for his glory and doesn’t leave anything out of our lives – the good times and the times when we don’t see any silver lining. Knowing this doesn’t discount the suffering but God makes it easier to bear. God is working everything for our good but we still may ask, Why God? God brings certain calamities, sufferings, and pains that affect everyone. It rains on the just and the unjust, good and evil happen to all, but God always has a plan and purpose.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God says don’t worry to us because he will be there for the remnant. We’re his sons and daughters and it brings comfort when we see the way others go through their suffering. We’re going to experience suffering and pain in life. It doesn’t have anything to see with the good or bad that we’ve done, just like Job’s suffering didn’t.

Ezekiel 14:21-23 For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God.

God wants us to be successful and doesn’t want us to keep our suffering to ourselves but to show others how we go through it. Paul told about being whipped, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, ship wrecked, going through life threatening situations, weariness and pain, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness. Sometimes the meaning of going through things is for what we learn so we can help others in their suffering, grief, or trauma. God wants us to show he helps us and is our hope.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

God gives us grace, hope, and victory. It shows others to look to him for wisdom, strength, peace, long suffering, stability, faith to help them. We may have lifelong affliction or suffering in our children, incurable pain, emotional trauma, rejection and isolation, marriage woes, or death that brings grief and pain. That’s ok and God will take us through. So all things do work together for good, but do we believe it? Look at your eyes in the mirror when you’re suffering or in grief to see if they show sadness or hope. Do our words show complaints, bitterness, disappointment – or thanksgiving? Are our thoughts and emotions about doubt or faith? Are they dark and bitter or unforgiving? The devil will give doubt and make us feel forsaken.

We need to control our mind and emotions to be positive and hopeful. Disappointment will chain us in. We will feel disappointed when we focus on ourselves and unrealized expectations. Jesus wants to take the chains off and get our eyes on him – to actively look for good, for reasons and songs about being thankful. God wants us to pray and talk to him when we’re going through things that make us feel hopeless. Sometimes we don’t feel God close to us but we have to exercise faith and resist the devil by putting on the armor and casting down confusion from the devil. We can look up encouraging words in our cell phone Bible apps. We fight the devil by praying. We can exercise our faith and be immovable about God’s will. When we suffer, look to the testimony of others who have gone through suffering. Use wisdom to encourage our suffering brethren in the world if they’re receptive.

Meaning came out of the midst of destruction through the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker designed the plaza called Reflecting Absence. There are 2 waterfall pools surrounded by a bronze parapet with the names of all the victims that died inscribed on it. Twin waterfalls drop 30 feet to where the destroyed building basements were. They are the largest manmade waterfalls in the USA. The water falling into the pools never gets full and they represent tears of never ending grief. There are 400 oak trees in the plaza and 1 Callery pear tree that’s called the Survivor Tree because it was found in the wreckage of the buildings and preserved to show resilience. Remember that God will never forsake us. There is purpose and meaning to be found through our suffering.