Mark Talbot gives a powerful sermon on the sovereignty of God over suffering. You can download it here. His story of suffering is similar to Joni Eareckson Tada’s (her talk can also be found on that page):
When I was seventeen, I fell fifty feet off a Tarzan-like rope swing, breaking my back and becoming paralyzed from the waist down. I spent six months in hospitals. Initially, I had no feeling or movement in my legs and no bowel or bladder control. I dropped from 200 pounds to 145 pounds because I was so nauseated I couldn’t eat. Once my back had stabilized a little and I had regained some movement in my legs, the doctors tried to help me regain more by having me crawl to breakfast each morning. At the time, an undetected calcified stone had formed in my bladder. It was causing raging bladder infections that made me completely incontinent. And so as they would put me on the floor each morning, I would wet myself and remain soaked for the rest of the day. When i left the hospital, after the stone was finally discovered and removed, I was able to control my bladder in most situations and walk awkwardly with a cane.
I’m now fifty-two. My accident has had several long-term consequences. Walking is increasingly more difficult, although it is important for me to stay on my feet in order to exercise my legs. I walk by forcing my leg muscles to spasm, which raises my blood pressure and makes it hard to find ways to exercise adequately to stay in cardiovascular shape. Physical discomfort is pretty steady. I have to remain alert to some physiological concern that most people never have to think about. In the last ten years or so, I have sometimes had sleep-robbing leg spasms. And in this last year, I’ve learned that my inability to walk has depleted the bone-density in my left hip to the place where, if I take a serious fall, it is likely to break.
I have thought about providence in this context for about thirty-five years… I conclude that nothing happens to us-nothing good and nothing bad-that is not ultimately from God.
Beyond the Bounds pgs. 78-79