God Knows Why You Suffer

Why would a just God allow all the suffering in the world?

A girl is born in a strange land where her parents were exiled following a brutal war that left most of her extended family dead or enslaved. While still a teenager, she is taken away to become the trophy slave-wife of a wealthy foreigner. She soon finds herself in a position to change the course of an empire and to save millions of her people.

A great empire in another era suffers wave after wave of horrific natural disasters. A prophet tells the emperor that if he would only repent of a particularly grievous sin, his people would be spared. The emperor is a proud man and refuses to budge. Millions are impoverished, tens of thousands die by starvation or disease, and the government is in shambles. At any moment in the process the emperor could have repented or the people might have overthrown him and begged God for mercy, but pride is a powerful master.

A child is born blind and his parents die when he is still young. He lives for many years begging alms and often going hungry. One day the Son of God finds him and heals him before a throng of witnesses. He sees for the first time in his life and spends the remainder of his time on earth preaching the gospel, bringing joy and meaning to countless lives.

We often hear doubters ask “If God cares so much, why is there so much suffering in the world?” To the simple minded, it sounds like proof positive that God either doesn’t care or doesn’t exist, but the world is an extraordinarily complex system. There are at least as many reasons why a person might suffer as there are people. One person suffers because he made a bad mistake, another suffers because there is an important lesson he needs to learn, or a wrong he needs to right. Perhaps there is some benefit to come that will overshadow all his pain.

It is even true that we need struggle to grow and thrive. As individuals, nations, and even as a species, we must have a certain amount of pain to drive us to achieve anything worthwhile. Great ideas and great art, usually only come after great struggles. Can you imagine the shallow, narcissistic philosophies of a people who have no serious challenges to overcome? You don’t need to imagine it; you have only to turn on the television.

We cannot possibly fathom all of the connections between people and problems. The only thing we can be certain of is that only the Creator can possibly know the full truth and that the scales will always balance at the end.

God knows each and every one of us. He knows what we need to live and what we need in order to achieve the greatness He sees within us. Don’t hide from pain. Study God’s Word so that you can know love and justice when you see it. Put your trust in Him, knowing that His purposes are everything, while yours are nothing. Then face your challenges head on. Fight injustice, fight cruelty without fear, because when you do what’s right and trust God for the outcome, He will be with you.

Faith in God’s Call

Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Romans 9:13-26

Exodus 6:29-7:2  YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, I am YHWH. You speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.  (30)  And Moses said before YHWH, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?  (1)  And YHWH said to Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh. And Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.  (2)  You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, he will send the sons of Israel out of his land.

When God said, “I am YHWH,” he summed up half the book of Job in a single, short sentence. He said, “I am the God who is, was, and will be. I am the Creator, the Builder, the Founder, and the Destroyer. No one moves or breathes or dies without my knowledge. Nothing is beyond my authority and power.”

God called Moses, the inarticulate, murdering exile, to be the judge of Pharaoh, the most powerful man in his world. And Moses doubted. “But who am I to confront Pharaoh? I’m not a great orator. No one listens to me when I speak.”

Like so many of us, Moses didn’t believe it when God told him who he was. Every one of us have a divinely appointed role, and when we doubt, when we hold back, saying, “I could never do that!” we tell God that we don’t believe in him.

I’m not smart enough.

I have a terrible memory.

I’m not a people person.

I’m afraid.

I’m too shy.

I’m not a leader.

Many others are so much better then me.

It might hurt my business.

I don’t want to offend anyone.

I’m too strange already.

These have been my excuses. To every single one of them, God has the same response: “I am YHWH. Who are you to question me?”

Job 38:2-8  Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  (3)  Now gird up your loins like a man; for I will ask of you, and you teach Me.  (4)  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell if you have understanding!  (5)  Who has set its measurements, for you know? Or who has stretched the line on it?  (6)  On what are its bases sunk, or who cast its cornerstone,  (7)  when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?  (8)  Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth as it came from the womb?

Do not fear. Do not hesitate. Do not doubt.

God knows who you are!