††††††††††† 2 Cor 1:9 Ė ďIndeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that †† we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.Ē
Life can bring us down to the deepest depths of despair, where the only hope we have is to look up to our God, the God who created us and gave His own life to save us.† It is hard to deal with the fact that evil exists.† Even though we know that evil and suffering have been caused by sin, it is still even harder to understand why evil and suffering is so unequally distributed among us. And it is still even more difficult to live with evil and suffering when it comes to us personally or to someone we love.†
Itís easy to say, ďGodís will be done,Ē until something comes to us that we really fear and we donít understand why this is happening to us.† Then our faith is severely tested, just as every person who has ever lived has had their faith in God tested.† And the question for everyone of us is, ďAre we going to remain faithful to God when we donít understand why we should?Ē† Why does God do what we donít understand?† Why does He allow evil and suffering in this world?
In the very beginning Adam and Eve questioned the fact that Godís Word was true and whether they should be faithful in obeying Him.† They made the wrong decision.† They chose to disobey and to try to be like God themselves.†† Every person since that time has continued to make that wrong decision and to suffer for it.† Every person, except one.† Jesus Christ made the on going decision to remain obedient and faithful to God throughout His life.
When Jesus was offered everything this world could possibly give us if He would break faith and obedience to God, He made the right choice.† When Jesusí heart was breaking for the suffering of those He loved, like John the Baptist, He made the right choice, even though His heart wondered why things couldnít be different.† When Jesus experienced His own hideous death, separated completely from His Father for the first time in His life, He made the right choice.† Jesus suffered for our wrong choices and not His own.
We donít like the fact that we donít know what God knows.† If we knew what God knows we could help Him out.† Or to put it in other words, we could make ourself God in His place.† We donít like what we read in
††††††††††† Rom 9:18 Ė ďTherefore, God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He †††††††††† hardens whom He wants to harden.Ē
We donít like God being sovereign.† We want to make all the important decisions in life, as well as those that arenít so important.† We want to be the judge for ourself and others.† But we are not God and we are not the judge and we know suffering much less in our life than our Savior did.† Are we listening to God when He says,
††††††††††† Rom 9:20 ďBut who are you, O man, to talk back to God?ĒShall what is formed say to ††† him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"
In spite of severe suffering many believers have learned how to endure suffering gracefully, to rise above the pain as our Savior did and to even find joy in the midst of it.
††††††††††† Rom 5:3-4 ďNot only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that †††††† suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Itís not the suffering that brings joy and hope but Godís Holy Spirit that enables us to use the suffering to truly become His people.
In Hebrews 2:10 Godís Word says that Jesus was made perfect through suffering.† And in
1 Peter 2:21- ďTo this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.Ē
We donít like suffering, but God has told us we must go through it.† We have to always remember that Jesus doesnít ask us to do anything that He Himself has not gone through and to a much greater degree than we will ever know.† And the question is still the same for each one of us, ďAre we going to remain faithful to God when we donít understand why we are suffering?Ē
Remember Job.† He lost everything of this world, family, posessions, health and his standing in the community.† Yet, he still could say, ďThough He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.Ē
Jesus gives us some answers as to why suffering comes to us.† We do have consequences for our sin, but not all of our suffering is because we have sinned.
††††††††††† Luke 13:1-5 ďNow there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the ††††††††††† Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.† Jesus answered, "Do you †† think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they ††† suffered this way?† I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.† Or those †††††††††† eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them ó do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?† I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you †††† too will all perish."
Jesus was saying these people didnít suffer more because they were worse sinners than others, but when the time of there death came they perished because they had not repented before God.
††††††††††† John 9:1-3 ďAs he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. †His disciples asked him, †† "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"† "Neither this man ††††††††††† nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be ††††††††††† displayed in his life.
If you donít remember anything else today, remember that Jesus is saying that our suffering comes to us so that the work of God might be displayed in our life.† Do other people see Godís work in our life when we are suffering?
††††††††††† John 8:44 ďYou belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no †††† truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of ††††††††††† lies.Ē
Jesus says suffering comes to us because of those who follow satan.
††††††††††† †John 15:18-20 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.† If you †††††††††† belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the ††††††† world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.† †† Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they †††††††††† persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey †††† yours also.
Jesus says suffering comes to us because we are not of this world and the world hates us as they hated our Lord.
††††††††††† John 16:2-3ďThey will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when †††††††† anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. †They will do such things †† because they have not known the Father or me.Ē
Jesus says suffering comes to us because religious leaders do not know the Father or the Son.
Jesus says, John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world †††† you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Do you want the peace of Jesus Christ in your heart when trouble comes?† Are we going to remain faithful to God when we donít understand what Heís doing in our life?
††††††††††† Rom 11:33-36 ďOh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
††††††††††† How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!† "Who has known †††† the mind of the Lord?† Or who has been his counselor?"† "Who has ever given to God, ††† that God should repay him?"† For from him and through him and to him are all things.
††††††††††† To him be the glory forever! Amen.Ē
Godís word says that He will win this Spiritual War that we are a part of.† And the time will come when all suffering will cease and all sorrow will be swallowed up in rejoicing.†
††††††††††† 1 Cor 2:9 - "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
††††††††††† what God has prepared for those who love him."
Then we will see God and not be ashamed and we will understand all things.
My question to you is, ďAre you on the winning side?† Have you made that commitment to your Heavenly Father through total surrender to your Savior Jesus Christ?† Do you know that you are abiding in Godís presence right now and have His favor?† Or are you on the fence between the world and Godís Kingdom?† You know Jesus has come to save you and you want that salvation, but youíre not ready to surrender everything in your life yet.
The fence is a very dangerous place to be because if Heís not Lord of everything in your life, Heís not Lord of anything in your life.† Jesus said that He would rather you be hot or cold than luke warm.† Do you remember what Jesus said that He would do with those people who are luke warm?
Christ wants all of you and everything in your life.† In exchange He gives you all of Himself and everything the Father has given Him.† Thatís the deal God wants to make with you.† You get everything good for eternity and He gets a worshipper for eternity who really loves Him with all your heart.† Do you want to make that deal with God today?† If youíve already made that deal, are you remaining faithful when you donít understand why things are the way they are in your life?
Love is the courage to do what we donít want to do and to go where we donít want to go. †Didnít Jesus show us that in His life and His death for us?