It's a tough question because it's a personal question. Many of our God questions are philosophical in nature. The suffering question has philosophical implications as well, but the intensity of the question comes from the heart, not the head. It comes out of our own intense circumstances.
Since it's a personal question, I wanted to remind the group that God made it personal as well. We're about to start Passion week, which is an opportune time for Christians to reflect on the pain Jesus endured at the cross, and His eventual triumph and resurrection. God doesn't ignore our suffering. He experiences it Himself. The cross doesn't necessarily give a pretty answer to the question of suffering, but as Tim Keller argues in The Reason for God, it does show us what the answer isn't. The answer isn't that God doesn't love us, and it isn't that God doesn't care.
A personal question also demands a personal response. One reason God rarely answers the "why" question may be because more than anything, He wants us to trust Him. In this way, our suffering becomes an opportunity to experience His love in a greater way.
Gabby has not been herself the past few days, so yesterday Leah took her to the doctor, who diagnosed her with a double ear infection (an infection in both ears). For the record, I absolutely hate seeing my little girl suffer. It's awful. And I just wish there was some magical way for me to take it away.
But if there is a redeeming thread, it is that the ear infection made Gabby very mellow. Typically she is all over the place, crawling and wiggling and never sitting still. But last night she sat on my lap the entire night. I've never spent more time cuddling with her. I hate that she is sick, but I love the way her sickness drives her to daddy.
God doesn't enjoy seeing us suffer. This isn't the world He intended. But when we leverage our suffering to press into Him; that must please Him.
On a funnier note, I posted a note to Twitter about Gabby's ear infection. One friend added this comment on Facebook: "I think as long as it's not a triple it shouldn't be too serious."
The moral of the story--things could always be worse. She could have three ears :)