When Bad Things Happen, We Don’t Understand Why—and That Just Might Be a Gift

Pain. It’s something each of us experiences in some form during our lives. Some of us will experience it more than others, and some of us, who think we suffer greatly here, cannot begin to fathom the pain that occurs to men and women in our exact situation but living somewhere else, say in a third world country or under an oppressive regime.

We often ask ourselves what is the point to our pain and suffering?

When my husband left, it brought much of the pain I had buried to the forefront.

I needed to know why I had suffered? Why had God let this pain happen?

I was basically a “good” person, but that “goodness” hadn’t stopped the bad.

There had to be a purpose. There had to be a lesson behind what was going on.

I could fill volumes with lessons I have learned since then.

Lessons about myself.

Lessons about my expectations—real and unreal.

Lessons about True Love.

Lessons about my loving and just Father.

Lessons …

I could talk about the fall of man and the original sin we are each born with.

But there are scholars out there who know so much more than I do about that stuff.

But few scholars know much about my own personal pain.

Why Can God Alone Understand Your Pain?

Jesus understands your pain. God understands your suffering, but Jesus’ bodily form left the earth over 2,000 years ago, and the Bible tells us God is too great for any human to have seen His face—although I have seen Him in actions.

So who does understand your pain and suffering?

You may not even understand your own pain completely.

I know I don’t understand my pain.

I know when I look back to the abuse I suffered and the pain it brought, to the way I handled that abuse, to the outlets I sought, to my sudden abandonment, to the divorce and the agony and fear, pain and suffering it inflicted,

that pain and suffering are too great for my feeble little mind to comprehend.

Even though we pray for understanding, I believe God sometimes gives us that incomprehension as a gift because to fully understand some of life’s horrors or the people who inflict those horrors would be too incomprehensible for us.

Although I say I want to understand pain and suffering, I am not sure that I really want to understand. I cannot imagine fully understanding the mentality behind the cause of pain or what that understanding would do to my peace-seeking mind.

Nor do I want to.

When I am tempted to pray for understanding, I force myself to remember that God will grant me what I need to know, when I need to know it.

Only the Lord can take on the burden of full comprehension, of fully understanding the evil that lurks so close to our own hearts and homes. Because of this, the Lord, our Father, our Protector, shields us from that understanding through His gift of incomprehension.

And as we use our time here to draw closer to Him in this life and then later join Him in the next, we are told all things will come clear. Maybe that clarity comes only after our death because it is at that point that we will stand beside our God, wrapped in His loving arms, shielded by the strength of His almighty power and surrounded by legions of His angel armies.

And then, with Him, we will be strong enough to understand and defeat the comprehension of the evil of pain and suffering.

For now, instead of seeking the why behind our suffering, perhaps we could use our suffering to draw closer to God and to reach out to others experiencing similar suffering, providing them comfort and love and our limited understanding.

What suffering are you facing today that seems incomprehensible?

Is it possible that God is shielding you with the gift of incomprehension rather than hiding the curse of comprehension from you?

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Strahlen is a teacher and Catholic single mom to five wonderful boys. She writes about faith and single motherhood at Single Mom Smiling. You can also join her on Twitter and Facebook.