Tony Snow, RIP
Those who have seen friends and loved ones suffer with cancer know just how awful and unfair a disease it is. In Tony Snow's case, here you had a good man with a wonderful family, who had successful careers in both journalism and politics. He was in the prime of his life, but then out of nowhere, cancer hit and everything changed. Why? What did Tony Snow do to deserve such a fate? What sort of cruel justice is it that has decided his wife and children must now live without their beloved spouse and father? How would a good God - or a God who at least wants us to think that he's good - let something like this happen?
The problem of pain - of why bad things happen to good people - is one of the toughest problems that we face in life. There's not much that tests one's faith quite like asking, "Why is life so unfair?", and "Why must we suffer?", only to draw a blank or to find that every answer you come up with is either a bad one or one that just doesn't seem right. While faith and reason may provide insights into this problem of suffering, they don't provide solutions. They may help to console, but they seem thoroughly unable to satisfy.
Tony Snow talked about all of this last year in an article he wrote for Christianity Today. The first line kind of catches you off guard: "Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer." Think about that one for awhile. You'll have to read the whole thing to find out how anyone could possibly view such a horrible disease as a blessing, but do read it. There's a powerful message there for all who suffer, grieve, struggle, and cope - whether with illness, affliction, addiction, or temptation. And yes, that's me. And probably you.
Thanks, Tony. Rest in peace.