Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Suffering and Me
When our lives are coming apart, when we’re enduring suffering, we cry out, “Why is God doing this to me? Why is God punishing me?”
If we look to Scripture, Lamentations offers one answer. There are times when God does cause his people grief because of their wrong acts. As Hebrews affirms, God disciplines us so we can become more like him (Heb. 12:7-11). So, it’s possible that our suffering is the Lord’s way of helping us to grow in holiness.
But the Bible also 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 he had been punishing Job (Job 42:7-8). (In fact, it was Satan who had caused Job’s suffering; see Job 1.)
Truly, suffering in general is a result of the brokenness of the world, that which finds its root cause in human sin (see Genesis 3). But this does not mean that every instance of personal suffering is a direct consequence of one’s own sin. Often, our pain comes from the mere fact that we live in a world that is not what God had intended.Of late it has occurred to me that the very question, "Why me?" is sinful of itself. It makes "me" far more important than I really am. There is a hubris involved in asking "Why Me?" that is really unbecoming of the Christian.
God is at work in the world. That work in centered on mankind - not me, though I can only benefit from the result. Our job is to find our place in that work - not make the work revolve around us.
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