Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why do we suffer?

Today, the sermon at church was from the book of Job. Many of you know the story. Job was a very righteous good man, blameless in his day and God was bragging about him to Satan. (Did you know Satan has access to the throne of God? Read Job 1 if you don't believe me. The Scriptures tell us he is the accuser of the brethren and is constantly before God's throne ratting us out.) But, I digress. So Satan tells God that of course Job is good, God has blessed him with everything he could want. But take all that away and then see how good he is. So God gave Satan permission (another key point which I won't go into here) to destroy Job, but not to kill him. So, Job lost everything. In modern terms, he lost his job, his house, his car, all his possessions, all his children died and he was inflicted with an extremely painful disease.

This story brought to mind things I often hear from Christians and Non-Christians alike. Why does God allow suffering? Why are some people born into poverty and disease in Africa and others are born rich in the US? Why does God allow child prostitution? We can explain many of these horrific things away by proclaiming that there is evil in the world--that Satan "roams the earth to and fro seeking whom he may devour" 1 Peter 5:8. and that these people have rejected God and therefore God is leaving them alone to suffer under their own consequences for suffer under Satan's. But what about those who truly love God, who've committed their life to following Jesus, who are righteous and blameless like Job? I hear so many horrible stories. One Christian couple's son died of a drug overdose, another person has cancer, another wonderful Christian family lost their house, another's son got into an accident and is paralyzed... and the list goes on and on. If God is so good, why does he allow His followers to suffer so much?

The truth is, we may never know the answer this side of eternity. Job didn't. He lost everything a man could lose and even at the end of it all, when God restored everything to him, Job never knew why all those bad things happened. He does now, I'm sure. Now, he knows that his suffering was all part of a cosmic bet between God and Satan and that through Job's faithfulness, God won and received great glory, which no doubt blessed many other people, perhaps even bringing many to God who never would have come.
When trials afflict us, we can either get mad at God, feel sorry for ourselves, or trust in Him and believe that He has a plan, a purpose that is far greater than ourselves.

So you can either Pound your fist in anger, Pout, or Praise God. Trust in His Love. Trust that whether or not you understand why something is happening, God has a good purpose in mind, not only for you, but for others around you.
I'm going through some personal trials right now that I just can't make sense of. Things that have torn my family apart. Do you ever notice that problems all seem to come at once? In the midst of all of this, I'm trying to write a novel, and somedays the creative juices are just not flowly. So this Word from God really helped me. Whatever you're going through, remember these 3 things.

1. You are not alone
2. God loves you more than you could imagine
3. There is a grand purpose in it all.

Just hang in there, and give glory to God, even when it hurts.

1 comment:

  1. wow I keep reading, hearing, and learning about the same themes, one of them being to trust in God even during the extremely hard times, even when it seems everything is lost. I'm sure there is a reason why this keeps coming up. I find it really interesting and cool how God does that, how He works through people we know, and through totally random events, to teach us something.