Suffering For the Glory of GodRead Now
Have you ever asked "Why"? Not like a child but in frustration over the things that seem grossly unfair. Why God did you let that happen? Why God am I in this situation? God, why did you take him or her? Although many may not readily admit to this line of holy questioning, if thrown into the right situation and given no sense of control... well watch out! The response is unpredictable. If this is not you then praise Him for mercy given; but stay tuned as the following may eventually apply!
Really, I should just stop here! Isn't clear? His son didn't escape suffering why should our sons, daughters or even ourselves. The above passage is packed full of explanation but more importantly it is packed full of comfort, mercy and perspective for a suffering world.
In 1999, we found ourselves on a journey to endure, as parents, the hardship, fear, pain and lack of understanding that accompanies childhood cancer. Our son, age 4, was given the word that cancer had taken ahold of his precious life. Devastation is putting it lightly. Cancer, wow, I just buried my father to it now my son; why God?
Fast forward. He fought a long seven year battle and won. In his own words, Jesus fought for him. That from a child! What did he know that we didn't? Was he given devine revelation? I think not. Was he filled with the Holy Spirit? Not at age 4 but by 10 he certainly knew The Lord and with a child like faith believe in all things being possible. Philipians 4:13.
What about us? We knew The Lord. We loved God yet no clear answers were available. We found many loving people willing to help physically and also offer kind words but no one offered us insight into the glorious picture of God's perfect plan. No, we did not expect the exact plan of God for our lives to be broadcast by more mature believers but come on, didn't anyone have an idea? Did anyone know the truth about our pain? Why were we suffering?
As you can read above we asked some straight questions of God. However He knew best. The people He sent were not there to answer any questions. They came to offer comfort as the verses state above. Many had endured cancer within their family while others just loved children. Some had no idea about our situation but came and loved on us anyway. Why God did they come? Why did so many love us? Why so giving and kind? Are these not better questions yet they were not answered questions either.
Maybe they did know the answer! Could it be that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son so that we too might have everlasting life? John 3:16
He "gave" His son. Christ was beaten and bruised for our sins. Christ died! Again, wow! Is this not enough for us to understand? I think so but consider that Christ took all our sufferings to the cross. Was it just our sins He took? If disease is a product of a fallen world and disease entered the world through one man's sin along with weeds and thorns then didn't Jesus suffer that disease on the cross. He took it all - cancer, divorce, sickness, abuse, pain of loss, pain in death, pain of war etc. Place your pain in that sentence. He took it! For those that have faith in Jesus, God's wrath has been satisfied by God placing it on Jesus. Romans 3. Yes there are still weeds, thorns and cancer. He'll take care of that later but for now the believer can know His comfort.
Now you know Jesus suffered far greater than we ever did but it still doesn't answer why we must suffer. We know that Jesus paid the price and suffered under God's wrath for the sins of those who believe. So why do we suffer if He paid our price? Should we not live in perfect peace and harmony without any problems? Assuredly not, as God's plan for the world is still unraveling. See the book of Revelation in its entirety.
Being that we still live in a fallen world under the bondage of sin; suffering flows abundantly. Second Corinthians 1 tells us to take the comfort and consolation which we have been given by Jesus through his suffering in relation to our suffering and share it with those who need comfort. In fact it's quite simple. it's a command to share the good news of the gospel with all who will listen. What else can it be? Christ suffered so that we may love others and help them during their time of affliction. Christ rose from the dead so those who believe may also live. Paul calls our sufferings, "light afflictions" which will only last for a little while because he understood that the believer will live forever with Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. This is Good News!
Presently I may relate to others enduring childhood cancer or with families adopting children but you have your own light afflictions and therefore may relate to others in a very different way. Your affliction may turn you to assist the homeless, lead a drug recovery group or counsel others facing marital issues. By acknowledging God's hand in the various circumstances of life we will always be prepared to reflect His Glory to a dying world.
Jesus paid it all for all. We truly paid nothing and received everything. The next time you hear somebody ask, "Why God?" Relate to them if its appropriate, share His comfort and give them the answer. The Good News of the Gospel.
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