Why does God allow suffering? Part 3

The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.

A lot of times you’ll hear people say: “If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, then why doesn’t He do it?” And the answer is that because He hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean He won’t do it. You know, the Bible says that the story of this world isn’t over yet. It says the day will come when sickness and pain will be eradicated and people will be held accountable for the evil things they’ve done. Justice will be served in a perfect way. That day will come, but not yet.

So what’s God waiting for? Perhaps He’s waiting for some of us! He’s actually delaying things in anticipation that some of you will still put your trust in Him and spend eternity in heaven. He’s delaying everything out of His love for you. Second Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That seems to me like that’s evidence of a loving God, that He would care that much for you.

We make the choice whether to turn bitter and angry or turn to God for peace and courage

We’ve all seen examples of how the same suffering that causes one person to turn bitter, to reject God, to become hard and angry, can cause another person to turn to God, to become more gentle, loving and tender, willing to reach out with compassion to help others who are in pain. Some, who lose a child to a drunk driver, turn inward in chronic rage and never-ending despair; yet another turns outward to help others by founding Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

We make the choice to either run away from God or to run to Him. What happens if we run to Him?

Let’s go back to what Jesus said in John 16:33 and finish that thought.  “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. But be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

So, Jesus offers us the two things we need the most when we’re hurting: peace to deal with the present and courage to deal with the future. How does He do that, and why? Because he has conquered the world! Through His own suffering and death, Jesus has deprived this world of its ultimate power over us. Suffering doesn’t have the last word anymore. Death doesn’t have the last word anymore. God has the last word! God wins the war! We may feel like we lose some of the battles, but God wins the war! Isn’t that just the most incredible thought and feeling?

God’s ultimate answer to suffering and pain isn’t an explanation; it’s the manifestation. Misery is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity. He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. Are you broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do you cry out that you can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and familiar with grief. Did someone betray you? He was sold out. Are your most tender relationships broken? He loved and He was rejected. Did people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as if He were a leper. Does He descend into all of our hells? Yes, He does. No matter how deep we feel our cavern is, He is even deeper. Every tear we shed becomes his tear.

Any close friend can sit beside you and comfort you and empathize with you. But Jesus is much closer than your closest friend. If you have put your trust in Him, then He is in you. And, therefore, your sufferings are His sufferings; your sorrow is His sorrow.

So when tragedy strikes, and it will; when suffering comes, and it will; when you’re struggling with pain, and you will – yet through all that you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover: you’ll find peace to deal with whatever is happening right now, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven.

All of us will go through pain and suffering at some point in our lives. We know that life is so fragile and short. We never know when we might be in our last moments in this world. We never know when death will come knocking. It’s not like you are going to get any warning when a heart attack strikes, or when a drunk driver crosses the centerline, or when a wildfire sweeps through a canyon, or when an airplane loses power. And so the question I’m compelled to ask you is this – “Are you ready?”

God doesn’t want you wondering. He doesn’t want you immersed in anxiety over whether you’re headed for heaven. His dependable, unfailing Word says you can know for sure.

Don’t rely on the fact that you attend church or you’ve gone through some sort of religious ritual in the past. Religious activities and affiliations never saved anyone. Salvation comes from knowing Christ personally and receiving His provision for YOUR sin and YOUR future. It comes from making him YOUR Savior, by asking Him to forgive YOUR every sin, and by asking Him to lead YOUR life. It doesn’t come by attending a great church, or being baptized, or taking communion, or hanging out with a bunch of Christians. It comes from deciding in your heart that you want to turn from your sin, to stop trusting in your own self, and to accept the forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus bought on the cross and is offering you as a free gift. THAT is how you gain God’s peace and confidence.

So please don’t wait! Resolve this today, at this moment, so that if tragedy strikes, your eternity with God will be secure. I don’t know all the ways God is going to draw some good from all the various tragedies, but wouldn’t it be awesome if He were to start right now, with you? What if He were to use this simple blog to bring you into His kingdom at this very moment? Let the pain of all your tragedies open your heart to Christ. Let’s take what was intended for evil and watch God start creating something good from it.

Do you know of someone who has suffered and turned TOWARD God rather than away? What about the other way around? Perhaps the person that has turned AWAY from God could use a little encouragement. Why not give them a call, go see them, help them find their way back, help them find their happiness again.

Please share your thoughts.

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