God has obviously not promised us an exemption from the bad things that happen to people in this world. As Christians we are saved from the coming wrath of God, but for now in God’s providence we are variously exposed to the painful and tragic events that plague mankind. This, of course, was God’s promise in Genesis 3 to all the inhabitants of earth. The painful thorns and the death of loved ones are the fidelity of God to his own word.
The good news is that God’s special care and planning for his redeemed people is always presented to us in Scripture as exacting and precise. As Job learned, there is not a tragedy that befalls us that has not been carefully measured and governed by God’s active involvement. We can be sure that every “crisis” we face is right on schedule. The next “shocking emergency” was clearly no surprise to God. We can be sure that our pain or surprise is not indicative of an inactive or inattentive Father.
So with Paul we can confidently say that God’s grace is always sufficient for the painful trials he has decreed for us in his wisdom (2 Corinthians 12:9). While these truths are presented to us in Scripture to be a comfort and to provide perspective, the greatest comfort and perspective is the one we gain by contemplating the consummation of all things. One day this pain-filled interlude will be over and the Alpha and Omega will say: “Now the dwelling of God is with men… there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).