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suffering
Posted: Apr 14, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

As a pastor, one of the questions I seem to get more than any other is, “If God loves us so much why does He allow suffering?” That truly is a great question and unfortunately, I don’t know if I have an exact answer. In my life, I have had similar questions myself. I have often wondered why there are children starving or why God allows terrible tragedies like 9/11, the Haiti earthquake or Hurricane Katrina. The fact is, God did not cause all of those things to happen. We live in a sin infested world. When God gave us the choice of whether we wanted to serve Him or not, He knew that some would choose not to. And like anything else, our actions have consequences. If you touch a hot stove, you’re likely going to get burned. If you kill someone, you are probably going to go to jail. There is a cause and effect for each decision that we make. The sin of man caused our world to be bound for destruction. And even though God loves us more than we can possibly fathom or imagine, hardships often times accompany our journey through life.

I have seen too many Christians walk away from their relationship with God because of the difficulties they may be experiencing. Their thought process goes something like this; “Why does God allow me to go through this hell I am going through right now if He really love me? Why am I struggling financially? Why did I lose my job? Why is my marriage on the rocks? If God really loves and cares for me, why can’t one thing go right for me…..just one!” We have all been there. Whether we want to admit or not, each of us has asked ourselves and God those very same questions. One of the things I love most about God is the fact that He doesn’t mind my questions. In fact, He invites them! The catch is however that if we question God, we have to give Him a chance to answer fully, understanding that it may not come exactly when we want it.

In Acts chapter 5, Peter and John are standing trial before the religious leaders in Jerusalem. They caused a stir in town by healing people and claiming that Jesus was alive. The religious leaders commanded them to stop, but they refused saying that they would rather obey God than man. Before they were let go, they were both flogged. Can you imagine being flogged or whipped repeatedly because you testified about Jesus being raised from the dead? If that did happen, many of us would say, “God why are you allowing me to be flogged? I’m doing what you want me to do! I’m working for you and this is how you repay me?” Peter and John’s response was a little bit different. Listen to what they said on the way out of the high council chamber just after being flogged. You can read it in Acts 5:41.

“The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.”

This was the first time that the disciples would be beaten because of their confession of Christ, but it certainly would not be the last. I read a story a few weeks ago about a pastor in Texas named Matt Chandler. He was diagnosed with brain cancer this past Thanksgiving. He is only in his 30′s! When asked about his cancer and how that would impact his relationship with God, this was his response.

“This has not surprised God. He is not in a panic right now trying to figure out what to do with me or this disease. Those things have been warm blankets man. Learning how to suffer well will be the greatest sermon my life has ever preached.”

Wow! Learning how to suffer well will be the greatest sermon my life has ever preached. I challenge you to look at the next difficulty you face as an opportunity to worship God. God never promised us that the crosses we had to carry would not be heavy. He only promised us that when, not if we face times of difficulty, that He would be with us. Times of difficulty will come and go. I want to commit to being a person who trusts God always, especially during life’s most difficult moments.

With Expectancy!

Corey
corey@firstassemblywest.com

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