Blog Archive

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why does man suffer?

"They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory."

One thing about talking to atheists is that I discovered that about 80% of them were at one time Christians. The one thing that bothered them was that God is not always "benevolent." He is not always benevolent in nature, the cosmos or in the sufferings of man and that bothered them because they had been presented with a God that was always loving and nothing else. When they discovered that this was obviously not true, they said that Christianity and God wasn't real. IOW, it was the suffering that got to them.

These are the kinds of questions that get your spiritual blood pumping because it forced me to find an answer and it made me think about what I had suffered in life. One thing I noted about my life in Christ was that each and every time I was obedient, it meant that I went further into a road of suffering. For example, I could have plenty of money at this moment. I could have the nicest car, the nicest house, take trips to Tahiti, and a vacation every single year with my husband for the last 23 years if only...... I hadn't chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschool at my own expense and trust God for my family. See the more obedience, the more suffering I endured because I was obedient. I could trace my suffering back to my obedience. Jesus learned obedience through suffering. Doesn't that make sense? You can't learn obedience by doing things you like to do. That isn't a real test of obedience. The irony is that often we have to forfeit spiritual activities for the same reason - we don't have the money. For example, when some of the moms here have suffered financially, I have wished so much that I could send them some money. I would like to jump on a plane right now and go and help Cathie too. :-) I would love to give a $10,000 gift to Gideons. I want to go to the street preacher's conference coming up.

Now a lot of people would say that that was stupid. Why not just have the two children and enjoy your life? Why suffer? That got me to thinking about the possibly of an eternal purpose for suffering. Plus, I wouldn't have wanted more money had I not had more children and more needs and more things I would like to do spiritually speaking. IOW, many of the things I have suffered were as a result of wanting to do more for or with God but not being able to.

One other thing that we often talk about on this list is proof of God's existence. To me the proof is obvious in nature. The naturalist wants some other worldly proof. But once that proof exists in this universe, it has to live within the parameters God has set up made of mass and the elements here especially if man wants to see and know it. So supernatural proof is a dead end. God doesn't work that way. He works within His own creation to do things for us. To Him, the order, symmetry, symbiosis, and beauty is plenty enough "proof." We know that because how often has our faith produced something in the natural? Paul noted that God cannot be known in the natural. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Clearly God is not going to be known by being seen by the natural eye. We have to know Him by faith. So we have faith going and suffering at the same time and I think many people wonder at that moment, what is the purpose of all of this? Why not quit and stop suffering? All I have to do is to stop doing these things that God called me to and I will stop suffering.

Then the question came up of free will. Will we have free will in heaven or will we be automatons then? As you can see, they have many, many incredibly important questions that cannot be answered in a day. Studying nature has also caused me to conclude that God loves free will and applies it in thousands of different ways. If you really step back and note history and nature, it is obvious that God allows mankind and the animals to choose and then He uses His creation to nudge things in the direction He would have them go. So, I say that free will is something that God loves and it will be in heaven because we will be ruling and reigning with Christ and judging.

That is when the testing and trials really started to make perfect sense. To have the responsibility of ruling with free will, the One in authority has to know that you would be willing to do His will no matter what the circumstance.

The second reason too that we suffer is to identify with Him. God so much wants us to understand Him but you can never understand Him unless you can understand the pain that He has gone through. We might even note that in our own lives. We tell someone our trials and it feels like they have no clue what we are going through but one who has gone through it seems to understand perfectly.

Did you know that God's heart has been broken too over mankind and the angels that fell? Just do a word search for the word "broken." I believe this Psalm reflects the heart of God, "Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none."

When Lucifer fell, I believe it was so hard on God. What it took to reconcile that situation has caused God so much pain and He wants us to identify with Him in every way, not just His joy and love but in this pain. He is so holy and righteous and this sin has been totally grievous to Him. He is and has been and always will be. None of us would be here without Him. So He takes us through suffering where people let us down and betray us so that we can understand Him fully. He was betrayed many moons before Judas.

I honestly think He is perfectly well aware of the fact that when someone He loves goes through this, that there is the possibility that they are going to turn tail and run to begin rebelling against Him. But He does it because He has an idea of who He wants to spend eternity with and who He wants ruling and reigning with Him. So He allows the trial to occur to see if we will stay the course and keep His commandments.

God does have a qualification for love. His love isn't in question but ours is. To love Him means to obey Him and keep His commandments. That is so easy to do when life is easy but impossible to do when we are suffering. So we look to the Spirit of God once again to give us the grace, which is sufficient and His power which is made perfect in our weakness.

We think God has no feelings, which is so untrue. He has feelings and He is hurt and broken over sin. But there is great joy in heaven when just one sinner repents. That is amazing! It is my firm belief that the filthiest rottenest foulest sinner can repent, change and be set free from sin by His power. Like me. :-)

He is not one or the other. He is both benevolent to those who love Him and keep His commandments and angry at the wicked every day. I just thought I would share my heart on that because it has meant so much to me and just one of the few things God has been revealing to me.


No comments: