Why Does God Allow His People to Suffer?
by Ken Pullen
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
ACP — A Crooked Path
Earlier this year, at the outset of this COVID-19 pandemic, my dear wife along with a few of her co-workers began emailing daily Scripture verses and devotionals to each other. They have maintained this wonderful discipline throughout the year. Sometimes my wife shares these with me and yesterday was one of those times.
My wife read the following, telling me which of her co-workers had found it and sent it around to everyone in their little group.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
Psalm 73:25 — English Standard Version
This is a devotional from Pastor Nass who writes;
Why does God let Christians suffer? I wonder if often it is to get us to let go of the things of this life and put our hope in him. It wasn’t until after facing severe struggles that Asaph in the Bible could say: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25).
Can you say that? Just wait. After cancer. After watching another loved one die. After seeing so much bitterness. God’s loosening our grip on this sinful world. God’s lifting up our eyes to see his love and grace. Why is life so hard? To remind us not to love this life, but to see what we have in Jesus the Savior.
Know what’s amazing? Jesus could have had anything he wanted here on earth: Wealth, power, success, fun. Do you know what Jesus hose? Do you know what Jesus desired more than anything else? You! May God teach us to say, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
We are shown clearly in http://The Temptations of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels the Lord Jesus Christ could have had every kingdom in the world, everything imaginable in this temporary world had He chose to worship and serve Satan, as the devil had the power to give our Lord and Saviour every kingdom — for a while, as the Evil One remains the prince of the air for a season. But when opening that link up, if unfamiliar with the text and the Lord Jesus Christ’s reply to the taunts and temptations was; “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY’” (Matthew 4:10).
We as His disciples, witnessing to others our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ are commissioned to imitate Him. To see, know, learn from the Master and to imitate Him in our walk.
We may lust for things in this material world which will one day pass away and become like a vapor. It is only natural to want things as we’re constantly bombarded and tempted before our eyes continually while here.
And we might have what we consider little, or nothing, and as Asaph, as Habakkuk as others wonder why isn’t life fair? Why doe God reward really rotten, bad people I see and know are evil? And I’m not equally or even greater reward?
All that is here is going to pass. Everything. It is all temporary. REALITY is the spiritual realm. REALITY is each person’s spirit, soul consciousness that goes on for eternity. Therefore what we imagine to be reality is only temporary and like a vapor, like a fading flower, while what is really real is the spiritual realm.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say “Come on, become a believer in God, a believer in Jesus and your life is going to be smooth sailing! You’ll have it so easy! That’s what being a transformed and renewed of mind and spirit disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is…EASY STREET!”
Nowhere in the Bible will anyone find any words of such context.
What a person will find when they open a Holy Bible and read, study, pray upon what they are discovering and reading is the people of God SUFFER. The people of God suffer from Genesis on through the Book of Revelation and all points in between.
Read all about it.
Each person, each circumstance, each event a lesson for each and every person alive NOW.
The Holy Bible is the only book not only having God our Father as its Author working in the hearts and lives of about 40 men of diverse backgrounds and personality, over a period of about 1500 years — this God-breathed Scripture given to those men, and thusly us by the merciful and gracious Spirit of God — but the Holy Bible is also the only book on earth ever written, or that ever will be written that tells us past history, present history, and future history.
You know why we all ought to be as Asaph and think, say, and write in our hearts;
There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you Lord, nothing on earth other than the Lord Jesus Christ…?
Because as Pastor Nass wrote, like many preachers, pastors and men of God have said and written over the years — God came to earth. This sin-filled, corrupted world. He came as wholly God and wholly man. Why? Because He loves us! Because His desire is each of our salvation so we can spend our eternity in heaven He an His Father, the Father of all those who believe on the Son and obey the Son and the Word of God.
He came to be mocked, scorned, abused, beaten, whipped, shamed, spit upon — no riches, not even an earthly home or pillow upon which to lie His sweet head!
He came to be the Light, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
He came to be unjustly tried in an illegal kangaroo court with false witnesses.
To be condemned though He was and is blameless. Sinless.
But He came. And He endured. And, oh did He suffer as He took all the sins of all those who came and come and will yet come to believe on Him as the Son of God and take up their cross and follow and serve Him as He in taking all that sin upon Himself began torn, alienated, removed from God the Father because God has no part of evil or sin in Him. That separation from His Father, imagine if you will or can, and no one possibly can with our finite smallness and small limited minds — but try to imagine if you will what it was like for God the Son to have to remove Himself from God the Father in however long that period in world history as He was dying on the cross took?
We think, or attempt to, of the physical pain and suffering — which had to be beyond anything any of us has endured (for homework seek out and study what crucifixion was like, is like).
Yet He suffered for our sake. Because of His love for us.
And we are instructed in the Word of God we who believe will endure persecutions, We will endure suffering, trials and tribulations.
Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is so wonderful and easy on one hand — and on the other, once becoming a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ the real test of one’s commitment, character and devotion begin.
Worldly life can and will become harder.
But always bear in mind this worldly life is temporary and all things are — even the suffering, the pain, the trials, and tribulations.
But keeping our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Keeping our hearts and inward parts, our mind, our spirit on Jesus Christ, on and in the Word of God, in those spiritual and enduring and eternal matters will see us through any and every travail, trial, suffering, and hard time.
Do not doubt that.
And if and when it turns hard? Winds pick up and skies darken?
Turn to the Lord in prayer. Turn to the Lord’s word. Grow in faith. Increase in spiritual wisdom and discernment. Be equipped and always ready to fight the good fight and be enjoined in this ever-increasing spiritual war each person is in. On one side or the other.
And to those on God’s, Jesus’, the Holy Spirit’s side?
Look to Them. Listen to Them. Put your trust in Them. In all things no matter what may come.
Even the world knows failures build character. Suffering and trials and tribulations here on earth build exceedingly wonderful true Christians able to endure to the end, to thusly remove their eyes and heart from the world and gain great insight, knowledge, and perspective — and realize as Asaph did…
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
And we can even add — in truth, we have nothing LASTING here on earth as it all will fade away, dissolve and pass, so all we really have is the Lord Jesus Christ who is eternal, as we will be also if we believe in Him, love Him, praise Him, and follow and obey Him.
Lastly, and this is no spoiler merely fact — if you want to know how it all ends? Who is saved and who is condemned to hell for eternity? Who wins in the end?
Open, pray upon, read, and study deeply the inerrant living and active Word of God.
For it truly is the only book in the world that reveals past history, present history, and future history.
For further reading, prayer, and study I heartedly recommend the book of Job, the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, 1 & 2 Samuel, and the story of David, Saul, and others in that span of history and God working. Also Habakkuk. As well as Isaiah and Jeremiah. Do not neglect the Old Testament. Do not neglect the prophets. All of them. None are truly minor.
And let us each be reminded of the Lord Jesus Christ’s examples in all things that might befall or beset us, and let us always bring to mind the apostle Paul in whatever hardship, trial or suffering we might encounter — while the apostle Paul was in chains in a Roman prison — not like a modern-day American prison (again, some more homework study about Roman prisons at the time of Paul — I know, good thing I was never your teacher in school, right!) and in that Roman jail what did Paul do?
Why he sang hymns REJOICING! With gladness in his heart! No crying. No woe is me. No “why is this happening to me and so and so who I know is no good, really, always has nothing but good things happen to them!?”
Be thankful and rejoicing in all things.
Why? Because we know trials and sufferings hone us, Are given by God to make us stronger. To refine us. Purify us. And get our attention from this world, from self-centeredness on heavenly matters, eternal matters, on God the Father, on Jesus the Lord, on the Holy Spirit within us to help us, within the Holy Bible putting more and more of its balm and life-giving bread and water nourishing our spirits and souls while carving its words on our heart.
Let each of us be able to say, write and live…
I am in the Lord Jesus Christ and He is in me and I live for Him keeping my eyes, my mind, my heart, my all on Him as He will always be there for me, with me. As He promised. No matter what may come. Let me always keep in my heart how Jesus died for me! Died for my sins! Why? Because He loves me so much as does the Father! So I can think of no other way to live, no other way to be…except in Jesus Christ the Lord and He in me, as I desire to live humbly, thankfully as His servant and disciple each day I am blessed with no matter what may come…because in each day I’m living out God’s plan working in my life, each day affords me an opportunity to spread the gospel, each day will make available something for me to work out my salvation and grow in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ…
Rather than determine sufferings, trials, and tribulations — how hard all this life can be at times — is something to blame God for? Lose faith over or never have faith to begin with? To allow bitterness to creep in and to curse God?
See the sufferings, the trials, the tribulations and how difficult things are and can be as the blessings they are from a loving and merciful God infinitely wiser and knowing than any person on earth, and whatever is before each of us in this fleeting temporary life is for our good, our growth, our blessing that the Lord knows will hone us, purify us, bring us closer to Him if we would only look up, look to Him and see and believe and trust.