Monday, November 15, 2010
Suffering and Seeking the Comfort of God
I've talked a little about God's Comfort and Love here, but this is going to be expanding on the topic a bit more. Life in this world can get very tough. Tribulation is coming to many. One thing in personal life, is I am seeking to pray to God for answers in dealing with many of life's problems. I know many unbelievers, sadly reject God, saying, Well since God is letting so and so happen, "he" cannot be good!, so they turn their backs on Him, not realizing the reason for suffering in this world is sin, not necessarily always your own, [that too can bring chastisement and consequences] but just sin in general in the world. In other words not knowing the truth, they unwisely blame God.
This is one huge problem, when I talk to so many unbelievers who tell me, "God allows too much suffering".... I once thought that way, not having any spiritual understanding. One person even told me, "Ill start believing in God, when he starts doing for me!" Some of these sentiments are definitely in wanton sinful human rebellion, but too many do not understand why suffering exists in this world and truths about God that would vanquish their misconceptions and perhaps lead them to a place where they would realize their need for God.
This problem troubled me, even as a non-Christian and then later a new believer, why is there so much suffering in the world? This question sadly, leads many away from the truth about and comfort in God. On a near-death bed, I did cry out to God, just some time before I was born again. For many of us, brokenness, and basically being hit by the two by four of life is what leads to crying out to God, repentance and salvation itself.
This life is not easy, young people can get sick, people die, people suffer for years of chronic illness, watching friends die even lingering in nursing homes, horrible diseases like Alzheimer's, witnessing extreme disasters, people grow older, losing a long line of people, too many goodbyes, too much violence and strife and a world that seems to be turning colder and scarier by the moment with the implosion of the economy and threats the news never fails to stop reminding us of minute after minute. There is a reason Job laments his own birth in chapter 3 of the Book of Job.
For the people who ask me, "Hey why does God allow so much suffering?" I tell them, suffering came into the world by sin. This is a fallen world. God made it to be good, but sin entered in once human beings were in the picture. God always has wanted the best for His children and this is why He sent Jesus Christ to save us from our sins John 3:16. It is good for a basic gospel introduction. Here is one article "Why Does God Allow People Suffer?"
Even the Christian though facing hard times, will still wonder why are things getting so tough? Reading the book of Job which basically is the book in the Bible that describes the basics of evil and suffering in this world, is absolutely imperative for the Christian. This book lays it out flat:
Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Job loses everything, serious skin sores, his house, almost his whole family is killed off, his friends mock him, but the common thread in the story? No matter what happens to him he keeps his faith in God:
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
This book will answer the problem of suffering, why it happens, what you are supposed to do about it, and that what awaits you. I think when Job is back with his family at the end [in heaven] is a glorious moment.
Our society sets people up for more suffering, in a way, that especially in American society, the "think positive" ethos rules and even has entered the churches. It's one thing that has destroyed discernment as no one wants those "old fuddy-duddy doom and gloomers" around who may say "Hey wait a minute!" when people start finding fake gold dust in their Bibles or watch one of the Crowders draw on people's faces with markers. I have known people facing problems like cancer and bankruptcy who have been told they face these things because their "thoughts are not positive enough". Those who run discernment ministries and try to warn about things are often told they are "negative" over and over. I have done articles where I have seen the ill treatment even against the poor that is growing, where 'blaming the victim" holds precedent. Maybe all the false New Age stuff has led more people to embrace the idea of "karma" or everyone gets exactly what they deserve in this life, even though Jesus Christ taught the exact opposite:
Jhn 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jhn 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Jhn 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
What does this verse mean? It means bad things happen to people and it is not always their fault. Even Paul had an infirmity. Do not forget God will use even weakness for strength. I firmly believe in my case, if I had an easy road, I'd still be rotting spiritually in some Unitarian Universalist church somewhere. So even if the world is bombarding you, and you feel like you are the lowest worm on earth, keep in mind, what God thinks is the most important not this wicked world that glorifies the wicked.
Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
One thing when it comes to one's relationship with God. It should serve as the place of peace in their life. I see it as being able to run to God and spend time with Him and pray to Him, realizing this world is not everything and knowing His Love is true. This is an important part of my life, contrary to nay-sayers who yell at me to "go read my bible" instead of warning about their favorite teachers. Doing this blog, and even warning about all this stuff, it's not easy, sometimes I have just wanted to just cry watching the world [or in this case the "Christian" world] go so absolutely bonkers. Many Christians including myself realize they do feel much grief when it comes to the lost [this shows a heart in the right place!] or those who have forsaken the gospel. God has never failed to give me peace or His comfort when I have asked, and this is a blessing, I cannot even do justice to in writing about it.
2Cr 4:8 [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;
This doesn't mean I ever get very troubled myself, we all are in the flesh and have human weaknesses, but I would like to call on everyone who reads this always remember to seek that comfort of God, even if your whole world implodes, God will be there for you. In other words why we may face trouble, we have the blessed hope of being with Jesus Christ one day. Never forget that. Unlike the world that may mock or be disgusted by your tears, God understands sorrow and will comfort you. Remember even Jesus Christ Himself wept too in the Bible.
Job 16:20 My friends scorn me: [but] mine eye poureth out [tears] unto God.
Psa 6:6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
God's comfort is always there for the waiting. Seek joy in Him. He will always provide that. I know for me, knowing Jesus Christ is the foundation of my happiness and joy in life. No matter how bad things get if you are a believer, you have this joy. If you are reading this and not a believer, realize this can be yours too, and understand, the true reasons that suffering and evil have come into this world, and realize the love, God had in sending Jesus Christ to this world in saving you from your sins. Read in the Bible about how the apostles and other Christians kept their joy even in the worse of circumstances, one of my favorite chapters, is Acts 16 when Paul and Silas were singing praises to God even in prison, which helped witness to others. This isn't an easy issue. There are many who will want to avoid the issues of affliction and tribulation[it's definitely neglected in many of the think positive churches out there, but these things must be faced, even to spiritually prepare. God bless those reading this article.
2Cr 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
2Cr 1:3 Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.