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Where is God in all our suffering?

February 4, 2010

Current events around the world and especially in Haiti cause many to stop and ask the question, “Where is God in all of this?”  Why if God is all powerful and really loves us does He allow suffering in this world we live in?  Many people point back to Genesis chapter 3 and blame Adam and Eve or free will for all our suffering.  Which to me seems entirely unfair to them, because even if they were able to avoid the temptation, which of  their children or grandchildren would not.  Who before us or including us is able to avoid such a temptation?  It certainly seems today that few people avoid much of anything.  So before we go blaming Adam and Eve, put yourself in their shoes and see how well you fare.

So let’s take a quick look at Genesis chapter 3 and see where suffering entered the world and find out where God is.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”  4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Well there you have it, free will.  They choose to disobey God because the temptation was just to great and will now suffer the consequences of their choice.

16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

After all that you would think that God would want nothing to do with them, but in reading verse 21, I for the first time figured out where God is.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

God still cares.  God is still there for them to provide and protect, much as He is today.  Later on through Jesus, God provided the solution to this separation that they caused.  In reality, I mean a separation that we have all caused at one time or another.  So suffering entered the world.

Today we see much suffering and we also miss much suffering.  We see it in Haiti.  We see it the loss of lives to disease.  We see it choices of self destruction through drugs, alcohol, and violence.  We see it in divorce.  There are too many to list here, but you get the picture.  Where we miss it is in the lives of those dealing with a marriage that is falling apart and heading towards divorce.  This is especially painful in the lives of children and sometimes follows them into their adult lives affecting future relationships.  We miss it the lives of those suffering with disease and illness that are not readily visible to the unsuspecting observer.  Illnesses like Multiple sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vertigo, and many others.  They don’t appear to have anything wrong with them, people will say.  We also miss it in the lives of those suffering from depression or other mental illness.  Again there are way to many to list here.

It would probably be very surprising to many of us to know just how many people who attend Northside each Sunday are in this group of silent sufferers.  But to look at many of them you could not tell it.  They serve in various ministries with a joyful heart, never complaining. To see some of them worshiping God, you would think that their lives were just about  perfect.  I would imagine that these are the very people that when they wake up each day know they have to continue to deal with the hand they were dealt, but their very next thoughts are to thank God for His many blessings.  They know it would be so much worse without Him.

These are the people that know where God is, in all this, He is right there, ready to provide and protect.  I can’t say I am personally in this category of silent sufferers, but I do know several people who are.  However if I were, I believe that 2 Corinthians 12:9 would be my verse.  I would own it.

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

If you find yourself in this group, trust in Jesus, his power is so much stronger than our own.

February 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment