August 1, 2012
Why do people suffer? Why does God let suffering happen? These are huge questions and deserve long answers, but many have told me the devotionals are long enough, so I will aim for a short answer! Simply put – we live in a fallen world. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, started this whole mess. Their choice to ignore God’s instructions and try life their own way left them and all their descendants exposed to the harsh elements of this fallen world.
Death, deterioration, disease, depression, weakness, loneliness, old age … and all the other human ills that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time. 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 different situations.
You see, I know this isn’t the warm and fuzzy message some of you want to hear. But we have made many stupid decisions along the way and deserve way more misery than we have ever experienced. Yet God in His mercy protects us from the suffering we deserve as a result of our stupid decisions. But we don’t even notice His mercy because that suffering never actually occurs. True, there are a small number of times when He does allow 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, or we forget to reach out to the people that God has sent 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.
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. Accepting His presence while you suffer is 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, Your help Lord, to rebut their negativity. Give me the wisdom and the words when Your detractors attack. Help me be steadfast in trusting 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