I lift up my eyes to the mountains—- Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Why has God allowed this to happen to me? Doesn't He take care of His children? What have I done wrong? Why isn't He answering my prayers?
These are some of the questions raised when I am talking with those who have just been diagnosed with cancer. I asked those questions myself. These questions, however, are not exclusive to those who have just been diagnosed with cancer. They are asked by many people, both Christian and non-Christian, every day.
Paul addresses this question in one of his letters to the Church at Corinth. He speaks of a "thorn in the flesh" which he asks God to remove. There is a lot of speculation on what exactly that "thorn" was but that's all it is, speculation. I am glad Paul does not say exactly what it is and I believe that is done intentionally for I believe he is writing not just about his own "thorn" but ours as well.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.- 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NLT)
Our "thorns", our weaknesses serve to remind us that we are not strong enough, attractive enough or smart enough to save ourselves but God is. They remind us that if we rely on our own strength, we're going to flounder and drown. They help us keep things in proper perspective; God is God and we are not Him.
Remember what happened in the Garden? Are we foolish enough to believe that if God removed all hardship from our lives, we would not get puffed up and attempt to set ourselves up as God? Think about it!
When it comes to remembering the things God tells us, we human beings have amazingly short memories. So God must provide us with reminders. When we experience adversity and hardship in our own lives or see it in the lives of others, it serves to remind us of how terrible sin. It reminds us that as terrible as the consequences of sin are, God's love, mercy and grace is greater. It reminds us who our help comes from. It doesn't come "from the hills" where the strength of man resides. It comes from the Lord.