Seems like I'm always mentioning people in need of prayer lately. And these are just a few of the people I could mention! We actually have bought a great big dry-erase board where we can list the names of people we know who are in need of prayer. Since Hannah's illness, God has brought many, many hurting people into our lives who have needs: cancer, illness, injuries, those who have lost loved ones. The sad thing is, I think those people have been there all the time...we just didn't see them until our own lives were turned upside down, and we saw things from a new perspective. One thing we determined when Hannah was sick...if we say we're going to pray for someone, we're going to actually do it...thus, the dry-erase board full of names.
But back to the love of God...now that our eyes have been opened to the incredible amount of pain and suffering out there, it's easy to wonder about God's love. If God really loves us, surely He wouldn't allow these kinds of things to happen. I find it very interesting in the story of Lazarus (which I referenced a few days ago--found in John 11), that after Mary & Martha sent for Jesus, saying that Lazarus was very sick, it says this: "Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days and did not go to them." If He loved them, why didn't He go to them right away when they were in need? Because He loved them, He wanted to deepen their faith.
Let me quote Nancy Guthrie in "The One Year Book of Hope" (she says it so much better than I can!): "...God's love is sure and certain. He is the very definition of love. We tend to interpret God's love by looking at our circumstances. Things-are-good means God loves me. Things-are-bad means God doesn't care. Instead, we must allow the strong and secure love of God to become the lens through which we interpret everything that happens in our lives. When we see our suffering through the lens of God's love, we see that our suffering has meaning and purpose. And while we may never label the suffering as good, we have the consoling confidence that God is going to use it for our good and for His glory. The love of God supports us and sustains us."
What a comfort in hard times!