Romans 5: 12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—
Probably one of the most asked questions non believers have when it comes to God is "why would an all loving God allow suffering"? Let's face it there are tons of people right now in the world suffering in ways that some of us will never experience in our life time. Everyone suffers at some time in there life. It could be from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a home from fire, wind, or flood, it could be suffering from a disease that has no known cure, some suffer from persecution for there faith, and then there are those who suffer for what appears to be no reason at all. When I think about suffering one of the first things that pops into my head is sin. I mean if you really think about it most of the suffering in the world... not all but most is a direct result of what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve. The bible makes it pretty clear that sin entered the world through one man (ADAM) and because of that one man we are all under the curse of sin and with that curse comes pain and suffering. I wonder how many Hospitals are filled with patience who are basically their because of choices they made? Choices like smoking,drugs,alcohol,not exercising or taking care of themselves, depression, stress the list goes on and on. Then there are those who are in hospitals because of the choices others have made... things like abuse, rape, guns and violence, accidents of all sorts. So much of the suffering that goes on in the world we bring on ourselves and then we have the nerve to ask God why does He allow it. Then there are other instances of suffering, babies who are born sick and dieing, people getting cancer who try to live healthy lives, people dieing when they seemed like they had so much life yet to live, the list goes on. All these things bring suffering and all these things can leave us asking where is God... doesn't He care? Let me just say that Yes!!! He does care and Yes He does know what your going through. One of my favorite stories from God's word has to be the story of the death of Lazarus it's found in John 11. Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus and he was sick. Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick because Mary and Martha had sent a servant to tell Him. They're message was simple "Lord, the one you love is sick." in verse 5 we learn that after Jesus had received word that Lazarus was sick he stayed where he was for 2 more days. I wonder what Mary and Martha thought during those 2 days? I wonder if they stood by the window of the house in desperation looking out to the horizon just hoping and praying that Jesus would come walking into view? I'm sure that as each hour passed and Lazarus got sicker and sicker they're desperation grew more and more each time they looked out the window... but still no Jesus. And then it happened Lazarus dies and four days later Jesus shows up and the first one to meet him is Martha and immediately she asks in verse 21 Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Now I would have probably said it more like this. God why did you allow this to happen... you could have stopped this...why didn't you stop this? So why didn't Jesus stop this man from dying... why did he let it come to this? He loved Lazarus, he was a close friend. Jesus healed others why not his friend? Well to get that answer you have to go back to when Jesus got word that Lazarus was sick in verse 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." according to this verse Jesus allowed it all to happen for one reason and one reason alone. So that God would be glorified through it all. It's funny how much of an impact is made on our lives when we go from a really low point to a very high point in an instant. How we can seem so small and insignificant, so stressed and heavy burdened, and God can feel so distant from us and in a split second we see Him working and so noticeable in our lives that we can't help but be drawn closer to Him than ever before because more than ever we know He cares for us. Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to die but he also knew that death wasn't the end, He knew what was going to happen next, that He would raise him from the dead. Want another example of suffering just go back to the time of Moses and see how God moves in lives all for His glory. God raised Pharaoh up and gave him so much power for one reason alone it's found in Exodus 9:16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Pharaoh was allowed to torment the Israelites, to break them, to punish them, to teach them a lesson. God allowed him to get so big in the eyes of all in Israel that when He knocked him down it was awesome in there sight and Israel praised God for it. God knows when we hurt, and when we hurt He hurts to. Notice how Jesus felt in John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. He was not only upset at the loss of his friend but he was also moved because they were upset. He felt there pain and he was troubled by it. And then their is verse 35 Jesus wept. You can't get any clearer than that. He saw there sadness, he felt there pain and He wept. It's nice to know that we serve a God that feels for us, who is not only Lord of our lives but also a loving Father. He truly does want whats best for us. The problem is a lot of the time we think we know whats best for us and we try to go it our own way and that's when the problems start... that's when the suffering begins. When we make the wrong choices God allows a little suffering to teach us lessons. It's not that He wants to hurt us but He will teach us and nothing helps us remember more than pain and suffering. So does God allow suffering?... Yes. Is He the cause of it? Not always. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves and we deserve every bit of it when were going through it. One last thing lets not forget that God Himself allowed His own Son to suffer and die for us so that we could be saved from eternal suffering. The suffering He put His own Son through was mandatory for our salvation. If He was willing to punish His own son for our sins how much more us when we get out of line. So the next time your in the midst of suffering ask yourself if it's because of something you did and if it is repent of it. If it's because of something someone else did forgive, and if you have no clue as to why your suffering ask God for wisdom and seek to glorify Him through it.
Hebrews 4:14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.