Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

As a final reflection on suffering, pain and evil, Christ Tiegreen has suggested:

Instead of asking God, "Why me?" which will likely yield no concrete, definitive answer, it's better to ask, "God, what is it that you want to reveal or show me in this situation? What do you want to do in this?" Consider what you're experiencing as a platform for God to show / reveal Himself and to draw you closer to Him.

We know how Job's life ended — we have the final chapter. The final chapter of your life has not yet been recorded. Can you trust God to work "all things together for good" in your life and trust the promises He makes for an eternal life for those who do?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

The indication is God allows and uses pain and suffering for a greater purpose and that our focus should be "eternal," not just what's happening in the "here and now." 

Give some thought to the following observations:
·         Individuals are sometimes most prone to turning to God for help when they are in a time of great need. Christ Tiegreen, the author of "Why a Suffering World Makes Sense" expressed the matter this way: 
God wants to be known and loved in all His characteristics, of which forgiveness and deliverance are two of His core characteristics / attributes. Without the context of a world in need with hurting people, this would be difficult for us to comprehend. We can't know God as a Forgiver, unless someone is in need of forgiveness. We can't know God as a Deliverer, unless someone is captive and needs freed. The only way to know Him deeply is in the midst of pain and suffering.
·         The damage caused by the disease of leprosy is due to the total lack of any sensation of pain. Thus any burning, freezing or scraping of skin continues because the individual does not realize what's actually happening. In the case of the leper, no pain means no response.
·         Individuals are often dramatically changed as a result of suffering or a painful experience. Often a certain maturing or growth takes place. And when asked if they had the choice, would they have bypassed the suffering and pain, most answer no, because of what the experience had accomplished in them as individuals.
·         Consider the discipline of a child by a parent. Sometimes it involves a little pain and suffering, but it is done out of love, for the benefit of the child, in order to motivate it to make better choices!

·         A focus on pain, suffering and death that all tragically affect this life often results in the individual missing a greater point. All of us will die. Some may be able to somewhat affect the circumstances of their death, but for others it will be totally beyond their ability to control, affect or prepare for. What concerns God and should concern each of us is what lies beyond this life. Most religions teach about an after-life and how to obtain it. The choice God presents in His Word is heaven / eternal life for those who accept His gift of salvation or hell / eternal suffering for those who reject it. Thus, God has provided an eternal solution to pain, suffering and evil, that extends beyond the confines of this life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

You may be thinking, OK, that was fine for Job, but how about my situation? It may surprise you to know that even for the person who has accepted Jesus' forgiveness and trusts in His promise of eternal life, that pain and suffering are not removed or taken away. In fact, as believers, we're told to expect it!

For example, in the same book and chapter (Romans 8) that the Apostle Paul writes about God working all things together for good, he also writes this to those trusting in Jesus:

“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, 'Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (Romans chapter 8, verses 12-25 New Living Translation)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

The long exchange between God and Job could simply be summarized with the statement, "You are God, and I am not." This may not seem fair from our perspective, but getting back to the Apostle Paul's statement in Romans chapter 8, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, here are the closing words of the book of Job, chapter 42, verses 10-16:

“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life. (New Living Translation)

God had made a point and then greater good resulted.