Perhaps Denise -- it would be better to just stick to what Jesus said -- "The rain falls on the just and the unjust." He seemed pretty reluctant to say why.
Well, L.R., I don't think He was reluctant to say why. I just think that He knew that they knew the Scriptures that declared that truth and that those same Scriptures also declared the 'why', that everything is from the hand of God, which they would also have known.
Perhaps prudence dictates that type of abbreviated response, perhaps maybe even in most cases, especially if standing within striking distance . It depends on the one to whom we are speaking or comforting, I would say.
To some the best thing to say is, "it just is" or "only God knows" or something similar, or maybe even saying nothing at all, but just be there for them. With some I could also comfort them with my conviction (and theirs), as a reminder, that nothing happens to us that is not permitted by God, that all that happens to us is ultimately according to His will for the fulfillment of His purposes in us and through us, to conform us more and more into the image of the Son, even though we can't see any possible good in it at the moment.
My understanding of the sovereignty of God brings much comfort to me. But not everyone believes in God and not everyone who does believe in God has the same understanding as to the extent of His sovereignty. Wisdom is definitely needed when we are attempting to comfort people, because, afterall, it is the person that we are attempting to comfort whose outlook and receptivity that should be considered paramount, or else why attempt to comfort them at all if we only end up wounding them with words that they aren't able to receive?
Stephen, I was wondering where you were. Welcome back! Now, what the heck are "smoldering aunt sallies" ? I can't say that I've ever heard that term. Is it some sort of philosophical lingo or maybe some sort of regional lingo?
Brad, Stephen is a quick study. We won't have to wait too long I'm sure!