April 12, 2015
READ: Romans 8:17-25
If we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently (v.25).
As I watched the news of a commercial flight that had been downed by a missile last year, my heart sank. Why would people wantonly take the lives of 298 people? Why? This small, three letter word sits at the root of all our experiences with pain and suffering. It lingers, and sometimes even haunts to the point where faith and understanding collide in crisis.
Suffering exists, and our position as sons and daughters of God doesn’t buy us an exemption from pain (Matthew 5:45). God existed, however, before the creation of this world, and He was good, loving and just then—as He still is now. Sin opened the door for death and all of the suffering that accompanies it. Adam and Eve’s (and our own) choice to sin didn’t change God; it changed mankind (Romans 5:12).
How many times, though, have we put God on trial to prove otherwise because we’ve defined His character based on the pain of this world? (See Numbers 23:19.)
Just as the brokenness of this world can’t define the nature of God, neither can we let it direct our belief in what He can or should do (Isaiah 55:8; Matthew 6:10). I will not expect God to pour out His goodness if I do not believe He is good (Nahum 1:7). We may never see the answer to our “whys” on this earth (Romans 11:33). But this we know: He is a God who never ceases in His acts of redemption.
365-day-plan: 1 Kings 1:28-53
Read Luke 21:12-13 to see the connection between the trials we face and the power of our testimony.
Why are faith and suffering not contrary to one another? How can difficult experiences derail our pursuit of intimacy with God if we don’t have an appropriate view of suffering?