Monday, March 12, 2018

The Answer to the Mystery of Suffering


Suffering exists because of the original sin. Adam's sin has brought the curse upon the entire human race. Added to this plight are the wrong choices every person has made, rebelling against God's holy standards. Even those who make the right choices—especially by believing in Christ Jesus and following Him—have to suffer as a consequence of living in this sinful world.

But, the problem many have is with God's role in suffering.

Some claim, “God must either be good but not all-powerful, or He must be all-powerful but not good. If God is both good and all-powerful, how can He allow suffering to exist in the world? Why doesn’t He erase suffering from the earth?”

The problem with such people is that they only consider the goodness of God and His almightiness. What is missing in their perspective is God’s sovereignty. God is not just good and almighty; He is also sovereign.

Here is the description of God’s sovereignty:

  • Psalm 135:6, "Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps." 
  • Proverbs 21:30, "No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord." 
  • Daniel 4:35, All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

What is the answer to the mystery of suffering? God’s sovereignty. But who knows God’s sovereign mind and work?

  • Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." 
  • Romans 11:33-34, Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 
  • Psalm 92:5, "How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!" 
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11, "Man cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." 
  • Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

What we know from the above Scriptures is that none would comprehend God’s sovereign mind, except that He reveals His mind to us.

To a certain extent, God's Word reveals the cause and purpose of suffering, but there are many questions with regards to suffering which remains mysterious to our finite minds. God's children simply have to trust God's sovereignty.

When one focuses only on God's goodness and His almightiness without giving thought to His sovereignty, he would assume God to function according to his expectations. It is only when one knows the sovereignty of God that he would heed the words, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10)

Though we have to go through suffering in this sinful world, God's Word has a good news for us. All those who have believed in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and have become a new creation by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the glorious day is coming for them when "He [God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Rev. 21:4)

Dear friend, don't give up in darkness. Wait for the light.
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