Suffering does God allow suffering? by wanee serrano
"THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING"
Why Does God Allow It?
Illustration of a $20 dollar bill…
If God is so good? Why is it that we doubt Him and blame Him for our sufferings, for our sorrows and pains, for our heartaches and death….? Why? And sometimes we asked Why me Lord? Why me?
Why? Why does God allow sufferings, sorrows, heartaches and death even to His sons, the sons of God?
So many people ask this question. Especially those who were victims of Typhoon Ondoy…whose house are burning while they are swimming for safety in deep flood waters; whose child had Leptospirosis, a common disease when there’s flooding. And even my son had it.
This question was also asked by the victims of soil erosion; whose properties were buried under mud; whose assets were acquired thru years of hardship and thru various loans; but perished in a few minutes.
What about those who lost their loved ones because of Typhoon Ondoy.
Even me, brothers and sisters. I also asked this question. After being hit by Tyhoon Ondoy, my eldest child got Leptospirosis and was hospitalized for 4 days. He has not yet fully recovered when my 3rd child had dengue and was confined for 7 days.
The answer, brothers and sisters from the Word of the Lord was such an encouragement to me that I want to share to all of you.
The purpose of our meeting today is not only to determine the origin or cause of our suffering (which we will know later), but for us to understand better why God allows us to suffer and why believers can still afford to rejoice even in the midst of trials.
WE HAVE REASONS FOR THIS :
1. SUFFERING KEEPS THIS WORLD FROM BECOMING TOO ATTRACTIVE
The Bible says all of us are travelers or tourists only in this world because this really is not our home. This is not our home because God has prepared something better for us. Let us read 1 Peter 2:11: “Dear friends, I urge you , as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against our soul.
Hebrew 13:14 “For here we do not have an enduring city but we are looking for the city that is to come.
2 Cor 5:1 “Now we know that if the earthly tend we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Perhaps if there are no sufferings, no one would want to leave this temporary world. No one would desire the "eternal" home, no one will prepare themselves for it. Nobody would even wish to leave the earth. Nobody would aim to reach God’s promised heaven in the city of our Lord if the world is already heaven. Right brothers and sisters?
That is why it is said … that the beauty of this world will be lost. Like flowers, it will get dry. The world will soon lose its attractiveness. It’s beauty is just temporary.
2. SUFFERING CAN BRING OUT OUR BEST
We realize this most especially during calamities. A lot of people gave themselves to be able to help others. We at Provident, brothers and sisters, we saw and felt the best of our brothers when they reached out for us. Everyone from NPUM, CLC, IAS, MAMC, ADRA, Project 4, Sampaloc Church and the youth of AUP helped bring to order the houses of our brothers at Provident which were buried in mud. Because of these individuals can we afford to rejoice despite calamity. Apostle Paul in Romans 5:3-4 said : Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance: perseverance, character and character, hope. And even the victims themselves were helping one another because they know the pain and hardship. You see, brothers and sisters, the value of being Christians really shines through. In the faith we have that sustains us during sufferings, and in the love we show towards those who suffer, which is precisely what God wants us to do like what is written in Zechariah 7:9 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: show mercy and compassion to one another, right brothers and sisters? This is the reason why sufferings bring out our very best.
3. SUFFERINGS GIVE AN Opportunity TO SILENCE THE ENEMIES OF GOD
Who among you remembers the story of Job? In the story, Job was tested by the devil because the devil wants to prove that Job is loyal to the Lord because he is being continuously blessed. So what happened, brothers and sisters? Job lost all of the animals he owns (thousands of them)7k sheep, 3k camels, 5h donkeys,5h oxen. What’s more painful is that all of his ten children died. And the rest is history… But.. did we hear Job complaining? Did he lose his faith? Big no, brothers and sisters. Job's patience under suffering silenced Satan! He silenced Satan. He couldn’t believe it but he couldn’t do anything.
This could happen not only to Job. Even to us. We can silence those laughing at us because of our faith by doing something good to them. 1Peter2:15 says “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of the foolish men.” Right brothers?
4. SUFFERING MAKES US APPRECIATIVE
It is said that if we are fortunate enough that we do not experience hardships in life, we hardly appreciate little things. We even take them for granted. But look at us, we appreciate noodles and sardines given out as relief goods. Even rich residents of Provident Village whose properties are worth millions, accepted noodles and sardines with a smile and thanksgiving to the Lord. Because of what they suffered during Typhoon Ondoy, they maybe were also able to appreciate people who used to be not their “favorites” but who saved them from the floods. If they did not suffer, would they be appreciative.
Those who were not directly hit or were not victims of Ondoy, were of course more appreciative. They were thankful that they were not suffering and were spared from floods and diseases like leptospiros.
And during sufferings and hard times, we call on God, brothers and sisters. So…
5. SUFFERINGS MAKE US MORE DEPENDENT UPON GOD
We cannot do anything if God is not with us. What happens when God is not with us? John 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:6- If any one does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked-up, thrown into the fire and burned.
However, brothers and sisters, what is God’s promise if we are with the Lord?
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Whatever it is, brothers and sisters, whatever it is! We can do everything through Him who give us strength. Philippians 4:13. Amen to that, brothers and sisters?
6. SUFFERINGS TEACH US HOW TO PRAY
WE ALL MAY BE ARE PRAYING PEOPLE...We pray at the right times..we pray for the right things BUT IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING, WE LEARN HOW TO PRAY... "Earnestly", "Perseveringly" and "With groanings which cannot be uttered" Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. WE do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groans (cry out) that words cannot express.
"I have learned more about prayer in the past six weeks than in the previous twenty years. My prayers will be different for the rest of my life."
And brothers and sisters, You know what’s the sweetest time of our lives? It is when we pray. Why? Because we can see God we when pray, we are talking to the One who loves us unconditionally. Amen?
7. SUFFERING IS A TRIAL THAT HELPS PURIFY US
Ellen G. White said, “The trials of life are God’s workman to remove the impurities and roughness from our character”. I have proven this myself, brothers and sisters. I used to be an outgoing person. I do bar hopping during Fridays. I also have Saturday night outs with friends. Cigarette on the left, liquor on the right. Especially when my husband left me for another woman. Cigarette and liquor were my best buddies. I was distressed everyday. Until I thought of suicide. My first attempt to end my life was to pull a trigger on my head. The gun did not go off. I didn’t know my husband has removed the trigger pin. Maybe he thought of me doing it. And since the trigger failed, I took several medicines. A lot of medicines. To make sure that the suicide will be successful. I prepared suicide notes for my brothers and sisters for them to take care of my children.
But brothers and sisters, God helped me through. He let me live. I cried a river, brothers and sisters. Then, I realized, much more when I heard His voice : Didn’t you ask Me to free you from pains and heartaches? Why are you distressed? Why don’t you pick up the pieces and face everything. I am here for you. Then and only then I started to stand up. I search for God’s love and care. I found myself inside SDA, Provident Village. I started studying the Word of God and I stopped all my vices. If only you could see me from the 1st month up to the 6th month since my husband left me. I couldn’t smile. But now, brothers and sisters, I can confidently say, my brothers, I am a renewed Christian…through the trials that purifies me. God renewed me through trials. and I can say brothers and sisters that I am now more mature and I am a better person today than ever."
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
From the reasons I discussed can we begin to see why a righteous and merciful God would allow suffering, even to innocents.
If we look at suffering purely from MAN'S point of view, we will not understand why suffering is permitted. But remember what God said through the prophet Isaiah:
8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55)
When we look at suffering from GOD'S point of view, from the viewpoint of His plans for us in preparation of eternity, then we can begin to appreciate why He would allow suffering to occur...
And never forget those words of Paul, which reminds us of God's never failing love:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall]
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness,
or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed
all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)
Nobody can separate us from the love of our Lord. Nobody brothers and sisters. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And if you can still see me smiling right now brothers and sisters...standing here in front of you, testifying of His goodness.. it is because God worked in me and God reminds me of His never failing love. Let us trust Him completely and let Him be in control….for God will never fail us… not now…not ever… and that is an assurance for all of us brothers and sisters.
May God be praised!