2 Words in 1
Suffering Because of Cosmic Evil
When we are passed over for promotion or lose a job, when we become chronically ill, when we lose people we love, what then?
We face the question, “If God was blessing me during the good times, is he punishing me now?”
This is a hugely important question. If God is punishing us, we need to change our ways so he will stop.
But if our difficulties are not a punishment from God, then changing our ways would be foolish.
It might even oppose what God wants us to do.
The Bible reveals that sometimes our suffering is not a result of our sin. Consider the example of Job.
He suffered greatly, losing his substantial wealth and his family. His friends urged him to admit that it was divine punishment because of his sin, but Job resisted, insisting that he had not deserved his sorrow.
In the end, the LORD rebuked Job’s friends, revealing that they had not spoken rightly about God when they said God had been punishing Job (Job 42:7-8).
In fact, it was satan who had caused Job’s suffering all along.
We are not told why God allows satan to torture Job.
One harrowing day, nearly everything Job treasures is stolen. The people he loves—including all his children — are murdered or killed in violent storms (Job 1:13-16).
But Job neither assumes God is punishing him nor becomes bitter over God’s treatment. Instead he worships God (Job 1:20).
Because Job has experienced prosperity as a blessing from God, he is prepared to suffer adversity without jumping to conclusions.
He recognizes the limits of his own understanding. He doesn’t know why God sometimes blesses us with prosperity and sometimes allows us to suffer adversity.
He just knows that God is faithful.
LORD, I know that sometimes my suffering is caused by forces I don’t now understand.
Help me suffer adversity without jumping to the conclusion that it is a punishment. Instead, lead me to worship and trust you.
See also Job 1:13-22.
Daring Faith: An Introduction
Let’s be real. Sometimes, spiritually adulting is hard work!
Heroes of the faith like Abraham, Moses, and Elijah make it look so easy.
Okay, maybe not easy, but certainly predictable.
Predictable because we can read a few chapters ahead and know how their story ends.
We don’t get the luxury of skipping forward a few chapters in our own lives to see how things will turn out.
It doesn’t take much faith to recognize God was at work in someone else’s complete story, BUT it takes a whole lot of trust to believe Jesus is writing you a great ending while still quite a few chapters away from completion.
And yet trusting Jesus in the in-between is what faith is all about. Ultimately, it is faith that pleases God.
Faith. Daring faith. Simple trust in Jesus is what God asks of each of us.
In the in-between chapters, you can remain confident knowing that Jesus is leading your life.
His presence and guidance brings more comfort than the most brilliant of plans and more hope than the most exciting of dreams!
The Author of your story is faithful. He is trustworthy. In fact, He is perfect.
His will is perfect, and He has your best interest in mind. As long as Jesus is doing the writing, you can be confident the story of your life is and will be a great one!
Over the next 7 days, we will be studying some stories God has written in the lives of people in Scripture.
These were ordinary men and women with extraordinary faith! Their stories were not only written by the Great Author Himself, but were recorded in the Bible because they dared to trust God.
As we read together, my prayer is that your faith will become more and more authentic, resilient and above all, daring.
See also: John 14.
~ Gail Manizak