Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

Suffering

April 2, 2009

I have just finished reading the book of Job in the bible.  He is a very familiar name in our culture, and even unbelievers have frequently heard of him and associate him with suffering.  Job was a person who had literally lost everything but his life.  He lost his children, possessions, health, and apparently the love and respect of his wife.  His many, many questions are questions we ourselves have asked.  His number one question, asked in different ways was “What did I do to deserve this?”  He kept answering his own question in various ways, insisting he did nothing to deserve it.  While that may have been true in the context of the story (Satan inflicted the suffering on Job, trying to prove to God that people only use God and do not love or trust Him), Job was trying to insist he was righteous, and of course that is not true.  None of us are righteous.  While we can’t understand God’s purposes in allowing our suffering , we can know that evil does not come from God, but only from the evil one.  God only allows people to suffer in order to accomplish a purpose beyond our understanding.  The book of Job shows us there are workings in the heavenlies that we cannot see or hear.  It shows us that God does care about our welfare.  The book of Job shows us that God somehow more than makes it up to us when we have suffered.  It shows us that God is so far above our ability to comprehend Him that our inability to understand our suffering is a foregone conclusion.   Don’t we trust him when He is doing what we perceive as good?  We never question why he allows good things to happen to us.  The only question remaining, is whether we will trust this magnificent, awesome, almighty God no matter what happens.  The challenge is whether we will love Him.  Thank God He came to us in human form in the person of Jesus Christ.  We can know He understands our human weakness, our faulty understanding, our questions and our pain.  He suffered more than any of us can imagine.  And, really, we don’t even understand completely why Jesus had to suffer as He did.  May God accept our praise and thanksgiving.  He understands how limited even that can be, and He loves us as we are.

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Will We Ever Understand Everything?

July 4, 2008

Someone commented recently, and I can’t remember where I saw it, that this generation feels entitled to answers to everything.  Our scientific progress has been so great we now just expect we should be able to understand it all.  If we don’t understand it today, it just needs more research, and we’ll surely understand it soon.  We think we can get it all figured out, and then we will replicate what is there, and do it even better our way.  We are, as I’ve said before in another post, in our adolescence as a civilization.  Teenagers master electronic gadgetry better than their parents, and then assume they know more than their parents about everything–never mind the wisdom that comes with age and experience.  Humankind is in much the same stage today.  We just assume we will comprehend the what and how of everything, and we’re much smarter than humans have ever been.  What if we’re wrong?  What if our brains are of an eventually limited capacity and we begin to discover things we can’t understand?  We are so arrogant, shaking our fingers at God, and demanding He explain himself to us, or pounding our chests saying everything is explainable without Him, so He probably doesn’t even exist.  As humans, we haven’t yet reached the age and experience level where our wisdom kicks in.  We haven’t yet realized how much we don’t know, don’t understand, and maybe never will understand.

Along a similar train of thought, is the faulting of God for human suffering.  People say “I can’t believe in a God who would allow these things to happen, so I don’t believe in God at all.” When I was young, this was where faith stepped in, and I just stubbornly clung to the idea that God was more vast than I could understand, and somehow He knew what was best even if it looked all wrong to me.  Then I became a parent and two things happened.  One of our children required surgery, and the child was old enough to comprehend there would be pain and to be scared.  And that child said to me “Don’t let them do it if you love me.”  Now this surgery would save the child from future disability, but he couldn’t comprehend that, and it broke my heart.  Another time our baby had to have a procedure done that would be potentially lifesaving, and I cried in the hallway as the baby cried in the room.  I thought I could understand then, something of how a God of love hears these questions of “why”.  When the child suffers and is incapable of understanding the reason, and you are a loving parent, you cry too.  And when your rebellious young adult child who “knows it all” starts climbing “fools hill”, and you just know what they will suffer because they won’t listen–you cry again.

Nonni