September 11, 2018
“God, I’m Suffering!
Where Are You?”
Today is 9/11. A day of somber reflection in the US for the terrorist attacks in 2001. So much suffering, and for many, the suffering continues with PTSD, grief, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts. Why do people suffer? Why does God let suffering happen? These are huge questions and deserve long answers. But in this short devotional, I will aim for a short answer! Simply put, we live in a fallen world. Ok, that’s cheating, so let me explain. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, started this whole mess. Their choice to ignore God’s instructions and live life their own way left them, and all their descendants, exposed to the harsh elements of this fallen world.
Death, deterioration, disease, despair, depression, corruption, abuse, weakness, loneliness, old age and all the other human ills have plagued mankind since then. That’s why we are in such a mess today. God didn’t do anything to us. We thought we could live life without Him. If you think Adam and Eve were stupid and that you never would have bitten the apple, guess what! We bite the “I-can-do-it-my-way” apple everyday. We choose our way instead of God’s in many of our DAILY situations.
I know this won’t be the warm fuzzy, message some of you want to hear. But we have made many stupid decisions along the way and deserve much more misery than we have ever experienced. God, in His mercy, protects us from most of the tormenting, suffering, and punishment we should have reaped as consequences of our many stupid decisions. But sadly, we don’t even notice His mercy because the suffering He protects us from, never actually occurs. True, there are a small number of times when He allows us to suffer, but we are never alone in our suffering. Although God chooses not to remove our suffering, His word tells us that He promises to be with us through every step of it. Remember that Jesus prayed to His Father the night before His death, asking Him to “let this cup pass.” God did not stop the brutal death of His Son, but He did send an angel to be with and pray with Jesus.
When we are in the heaviest storms of life, we often forget to ask for God’s help. Jesus wants to share His yoke with us, to bear our burden for us. God provides a peace and power as well. The Holy Spirit empowers, guides, and influences us. Isaiah 26:3 states, You give him perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Thee. So much suffering and heartache could be avoided or easily endured if we just believed AND lived by these promises. Sadly, our mind wanders and is tricked by so many other perspectives while we chase many other impostor options offering peace or escape from suffering.
God also provides many Christians and wise people to comfort and clear our lenses, drawing our mind back to God. We often push away, or forget to reach out to the people God sends our way during the darkest days. This only accentuates the suffering and impairs our ability to see the true reasons God allowed that particular suffering to come into our lives.
Today, when you are in the midst of suffering, say this simple prayer: “God, please be with me and get me through this suffering.” Then look for Him, because He is there. God always provides exactly what you need to endure the suffering. He may not tell you why you are suffering. Sometimes that knowledge comes much later. But He will certainly be by your side every step of the way. And then He will use that suffering to grow you toward Christ-likeness. Whether you seek and accept His presence while you suffer or you look in the wrong places for quick fixes — it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I am suffering today, Lord. The burdens I bear are almost too much for me to handle. I feel I am at my breaking point. Lord, please be with me; please help me through this suffering. There is so much suffering in this world. Why? Those who do not believe, and who do not want me to believe, often use the world’s suffering as an example of Your non-existence. I need Your help to rebut their negativity. Give me the wisdom and the words when Your detractors attack. Help me to steadfastly trust Your promise to be my Lighthouse, guiding and providing sanctuary in every storm of my life. I pray in the name of my Suffering Savior, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Matthew 26:39
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” Genesis 2:16-17