Sunday, August 17, 2008
Why am I suffering...Where is God?
A comment was left that on the section the God of Providence (01/05/2008) that said:
Do you trust God with all your heart, even though you don't know how He's going to get you through something?
This struck a cord with me because it is something that I have struggled with many, many times. There is my response:
Sorry to get back to you so late, but I had a call out Friday that went all night...etc...Etc...
I have struggled with this area and one of the things that helped me was to look at the lives of the seminal figures of the Bible.
Was forced to leave his family (father/brothers/except for Lot) take his barren wife and go to a land that was foreign to him. Famine hits, flees to Egypt passes his wife off as his sister and only with God’s interdiction does she not become sexually involved with the Pharaohs. Saves Lot by butchering his hostage takers and gets inpatient waiting for Sara to become with child so he impregnates Hagar. Sara gets pregnant. He splits with Lot, God sees if he is willing to sacrifice his son, gets the land his is promised, is tormented by the child and that chid's children he has with Hagar and dies.
Is spared from the order of the Pharaoh to kill all first born male children when mother drops him in a river and he is taken into the Pharaoh's household. Grows up kills slave master who is whipping the Hebrew slaves, returns the next day and the very Hebrews that he aided turn on him, he flees into the desert. Sees burning bush told to see the Pharaoh and he tells God that he can not because he stutters etc. Is forced to go to the Pharaoh and is not successful till the firstborn of Egypt’s sons are killed. Flees into the desert, parts the red sea, speaks with God gets the 10 commandants while his own people have abandoned him and turned from God. Hits a rock, watches time and time again while his people fall away and are punished by God, is denied entrance into the Promised Land and dies.
Pops up tells King Ahab of God’s coming judgment because of Ahab’s wife Jezebel, among other things and is forced to flee for his life. Fed meat by Ravens, drinks out of a brook and complains. Is saved by a widow, Comes back challenges the Baal priests, wins, has them killed and is forced to flee the wrath of Jezebel. Fights with her son Ahaziah and gets taken into the air on a whirlwind. Comes back to speak to Jesus and disappears.
John the Baptist
Son from an elderly and barren mother. Forced to flee into the desert, wears a hair coat, can not drink and eats honey and locusts. Starts his ministry as a precursor to the coming of the Lord. Meets and acknowledges Jesus as the Christ. Gets thrown in prison all the time and finally get his head cut off for his troubles.
Held the cloaks of the citizens stoning Steven. Had arrest warrants and pulled Christians out of their homes to be imprisoned and killed. Struck down by God on the road to Damascus, blinded and sent to the very people he tried to kill and who hated him. Converted and sent the rest of his life telling the good news of Jesus the Christ, being thrown into prison, traveling incessantly, finding his way to Rome to die.
What you see is a pattern that consists of three things: First they are all sent into situations by God that not only do they not understand why are doing these things but further they do not want to go and in most cases involves great personal risk. Second, they suffer for doing the acts that God commanded them to do and it should be noted it is great suffering. Lastly all sinned and fell from Gods plan, but all stopped, repented were punished and then finished by standing in the place that God originally commanded them to be in.
As I see it, we are made to suffer. When life is the darkest it is because of one of two things: we are in Gods plan or we have fled from Gods edicts. But the main factor is that we suffer. I have been plagued by the incorrect idea that the lack of pain in my life is a sign that I am on the right path of God. When reality that very well may be the sign that I am not doing what I am supposed to do.
God is always there. Job suffered by doing exactly what God wanted him to do. When we suffer because of the evil we have done God is there waiting for us to repent. But repenting does not mean an end to suffering but rather it comes two fold; correction for what we have done and suffering for carrying the cross of Christ.
Look at Jesus, sinless and yet he suffered horrible torture and death in order to save us from Hell. He was perfectly in God’s will and yet he was hated, mocked and killed. Why should our lives be anything different?
You ask: Do you trust God with all your heart, even though you don't know how He's going to get you through something?
I answer: Yes because I already know the ending. I will be with Christ in Heaven and his enemies will be cast into the pit. The rest is just trying to endure and focus on keeping the next step on the straight and narrow path.
It’s like dumper cars. You want to get from one side of the track to the other while everyone else is trying to dump you out of the way. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes I make an error in steering but as long as I keep my goal the finish line I will eventually get there. But if I focus on every hit or every mistake and spin around trying to find the meaning behind their strike on my car or seek justice with each driver, I soon loose sight of the end and run out of time.
Suffering for Christ is glorious. You justice will come, it was promised. God is always there and our singular reward is also the greatest reward. Heaven.
One of my favorite verses: Acts 5: 41-42
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.