“I struck you with blight and mildew;
your many gardens and your vineyards,
your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
yet you did not return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
I killed your young men with the sword,
and carried away your horses,
and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
yet you did not return to me,”
declares the Lord. Amos 4:9-10 ESV
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. II Corinthians 7:9-10 ESV
Leprosy is a disease that is often mentioned in the Bible, although sometimes when the Bible talks about leprosy it might be talking about other kinds of skin diseases. Leprosy can be a terrible disease. It can cause blindness, serious damage to the face and nose, and kidney failure. The worst damage that leprosy can cause, though, is to the nervous system. Leprosy can cause a dangerous loss of feeling, especially to the hands, feet, and legs. A person with leprosy might not even feel it if he or she is cut or bruised or burned. Thankfully, nowadays there is effective treatment for leprosy. Before this treatment was developed, a person with leprosy might lose their fingers or hands or feet because they wouldn’t feel the pain when they were hurt. They might burn their fingers on the stove and not even notice, for example.
No one likes to feel pain, but actually pain is a warning that something in the body is wrong and needs attention. Other kinds of pain and suffering can also be a warning. The Lord spoke through the prophet Amos to remind his people of the suffering he had caused them. He talked about the blight and mildew and the locusts that had caused damage to their grapes and olives and figs. He also talked about how many people had died, some of plagues and diseases and some in battles. God didn’t send them this suffering because he enjoyed hurting them. He hoped that they would learn from their troubles that something was wrong. God’s purpose was that they would return to him, but sadly, they didn’t.
Sometimes God allows us to know sadness and hurt. We can’t always know why God lets things happen the way they do, but sometimes it might be that God wants us to return to him. If our sadness brings us closer to God and causes us to turn away from sins that are hurting us, that is a good thing that will last us forever. God loves us and wants us to be his children no matter what happens. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us so that all our sins could be forgiven and we could have life forever with him. No matter what happens, God is with us and cares about us. He promises to work through everything to do good things for us and to keep us close to him.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us and comfort us when sad things hurt us, and keep us close to you no matter what. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.