On some days, I find myself begging God to display His mercy in my life so I will not have to suffer greatly. As I grow in maturity and grow in faith and dependence on God, I still worry about pain and suffering in the form of losing loved ones.
I'm willing to let God control and direct all things about my life, but I still say, "Oh, but please be merciful! Please!"
I find such a comforting truth in Jacques Philippe's Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart. My wise counselor recommended this years ago as I battled daily anxiety and fear.
Philippe writes, "The Lord can leave us wanting relative to certain things (sometimes judged indispensable in the eyes of the world), but He never leaves us deprived of what is essential: His presence, His peace, and all that is necessary for the complete fulfillment of our lives, according to His plans for us."
I find great comfort in the truth that God never deprives us of what is essential. And that, with God's power--by faith--I learn more and more to hope against all hope when I experience suffering.
As I travel this week to the funeral of a childhood friend who died of complications from cancer, I think of his sweet wife and precious three young children he leaves behind. I pray that this whole family experiences the essential presence of Jesus, His peace, and "all that is necessary for the complete fulfillment" of their lives. They must hope against all hope to do so.