This week’s devotions are based on the Week 3 “Explore God” – Why does God allow pain and suffering? (WATCH HERE)
All of us have at some point in life asked this question of God. “Why is this happening to me?” “Why are you making me suffer this way?” “After all I have done for you, why are you allowing this to happen to me?”
The question of pain and suffering has long been a challenge for individuals to reconcile with a loving God. If God were loving would he all the suffering to occur or would he eliminate all suffering?
In yesterday’s message (Click the link above to listen), we surmised that we don’t blame God for all kinds of pain or suffering. When we are working out or getting in shape for a sports season and endure the pain of sore muscles, we realize, “No pain, no gain.” If we take a calculated risk and get hurt doing it, we realize that the hurt is the result of our actions and don’t blame God for it.
It’s the pain and suffering we don’t inflict on ourselves, or the pain we don’t think we deserve that challenges us. At the heart of the question is a sense of fairness. But perhaps let’s peel one more layer off this onion. Why do we challenge or blame God for certain pain and suffering in our lives or the world around us?
- We don’t think we deserve it. We reconcile in our mind that we don’t deserve the illness we have. The children don’t deserve to die at the end of a deranged person’s gun. A loving mother doesn’t deserve to suffer with Alzheimer’s for years. Our template of what is fair is pressed over God’s infinite wisdom and WE determine the suffering isn’t fair and blame God.
- Another reason we can blame God is when suffering leads us to realize that part or all of our lives are out of our control. We want to protect our children, and then they are unjustly hurt or killed. We want to enjoy life as a family only to have it broken apart by a the actions of drunk driver. We have plans for retirement only to have them challenged by a new illness. We were saving our resources for a future vacation only to have unforeseen lawsuit come our way.
The things that are out of our control, we expect God to control for our benefit. When things don’t go the way we think they should go, we can easily turn on God and blame him for allowing into our lives things that create hardship for us and we perceive he could have and should have prevented them.
Suffering is hard. No one enjoys suffering and pain that they didn’t chose to endure themselves. Really the issue of suffering is very much a spiritual battle. Satan wants us to “curse God and die.”
So how do we face suffering…even when we perceive it is not our fault, unfair or out of our control? Satan wants to use the time of suffering to lead us away from Jesus. The Lord wants to lead us closer to him. So what will it be? This week we will explore the truths about God that get challenged when we suffer so that as we go through a specific pain or a season of suffering we can conclude as Job did, even after he lost his material possessions and his family:
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Apply: What is your biggest challenge when you go through a season of suffering or see suffering in the world around you?
Prayer: Lord, help me to see your perspective and your heart when I go through a period of suffering. Lead me to look to you and never doubt your love for me, AMEN.