It’s one of the toughest questions we face: where is God in suffering?
When we experience the loss of a loved one, the pain of a health crisis, or the battle of addiction, where can we find real hope?
As a surgeon, Dr. Mark Solfelt has been treating cancer patients for 30 years, which brings him face-to-face with suffering each day. He says the questions run deep.
“The culture around us wants to say, God must be deficient in some way. Otherwise I’m not going to be suffering. You say God’s loving: does He not love me enough? Is that why I’m suffering?”
“Or, You say God’s powerful…does He really love me, but He’s just not powerful to do anything about it? That’s become a very common theme in our society: that human suffering is a reason to reject God. That breaks my heart because I see the Christian message as being the absolute opposite of that.”
Dr. Solfelt says the message of Christ is unique and precious to those who are suffering.
“There are all kinds of ways that people suffer—that people lose control of their circumstances and are really fearful of what’s next–and the Bible really has a lot to say to those people….God works through suffering in a way that is unique, and the key is to come closer to Him through that experience.”
As he walks alongside patients with serious conditions, Dr. Solfelt says he’s seen remarkable testimonies of faith.
“It is amazing to me when I have a patient who’s a Christian, a believer in Christ, almost universally, this is what they end up saying: I have such joy. God is so real to me. This is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me. Standing in a patient’s room, sometimes medical trainees’ jaws will hit the floor. It’s the last thing they expect someone to say.”
“I think God becomes so real, so powerful–everything we always thought we knew about God is right there–His presence is so palpable and real. It is an extraordinary thing to witness and I’ve seen it in many patients’ lives.”
Dr. Mark Solfelt is a surgeon with 30 years of experience caring for people of all ages and backgrounds as they go through suffering, loss, and recovery. He’s the founder and lead musician for HealingStream, a ministry that uses music to comfort those who suffer.Where is God in suffering?