Casting blame on God for our suffering is like the teenager who was caught speeding, arrested because her friends had an open can of beer in the car, and spent the night in jail. The next day, when her father came to bail her out, she angrily accused him, “This is all your fault! You gave me the keys to the car!”
The blessings of freedom come with consequences. One of these consequences is suffering. Some suffering is the result of our own wrong, some is the result of the wrong of others, and some suffering is the result of our creation being filled with “weeds and thorns.”
I want to throw out a challenging thought to you, which I think is true. If we only had good…I mean if our lives were always smooth sailing, if there was no pain or suffering in this world…would we even recognize our need for a Savior? Interesting question, huh? Imagine it with me for awhile: No pain. No suffering. No evil. Then, let’s build on that thought a bit more. What if everything went our way? We could have anything we ever asked for? Treat God like a genie in the bottle. Make a wish and have it done. I don’t know about you, but I would probably become pretty self-confident and self-indulgent. I don’t know that I would recognize my need for a Savior. I would probably become pretty full of ME. I don’t even know if I would appreciate the “goodness of God” if I had never personally experienced the “evil of the enemy.” I doubt that I would have much empathy for others or even be concerned with them if I only knew good.
I left the hospital with a heart monitor strapped to me 24/7. I wore it in hopes the heart monitoring device would record an episode of me collapsing. Scary feeling, really. Living with an expectation of looming disaster. I did not see it then…but I see it now. God was showing to me the depths of His great love for me. If I never went to the deep depths, I would not have seen the amazing height of His vast love.
It takes the good, bad and ugly to truly appreciate God’s goodness. Reflecting back on Job, another friend Elihu shows up with a different vantage point regarding suffering. Job 36:15-16, “But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.”
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