If There Is A God, Then Why...?
We have all heard or may even have said those exact words at some point in our lives. Why does man (humanity) want to accept that God is in control only when there is suffering in our lives? What does it mean to suffer? According toe Webster’s Dictionary, suffering means: to undergo, be subjected to, or endure pain, distress, injury, loss, or anything unpleasant. Everyone can relate to one of these categories, either from personal experience or having known of someone who has suffered.
The Old Testament is full of examples of man’s disobedience and suffering. Psalm 95.8-10 states, “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested me; they tried me, though they saw my work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know my ways.’” The nation of Israel, who knew firsthand of the miracles God had performed, was disobedient and therefore suffered 40 years of wilderness wandering. Not much has changed over the years; man still is disobedient.
If I am suffering, does that mean I am disobedient? The answer is no. The New Testament states that Christians must face trials and suffer to grow in faith. Romans 8.17-18 states, “…and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Does this mean that God is the reason for our suffering? Again, the answer is no. When sin entered the world, death and decay also entered. Sin entered because of man’s disobedience, not because of God. Genesis 1.31 states, “Then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good…”
The real question is: Why does man feel that he should be superior to God’s own son, Jesus? While Jesus was on this earth, he lived a simple life. He didn't’ seek fame for himself, nor did he work toward monetary gain. Jesus was a man, he had human wants and needs, but his purpose was to fulfill his father’s will. While on earth, he suffered a great deal through temptation and grief. Temptations are always present. Someone who is weak in their faith will almost always be overcome, but if viewed and handled properly, temptations are great faith builders. In Matthew 4.1-11, we have the temptations of Christ by Satan recorded for us. After 40 days and 40 nights, Satan came to Jesus. Matthew 4.3-4 state, “Now when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If you are the son of God, command that these stone become bread.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is written, a man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Jesus was speaking of a spiritual fulfillment that only God can offer, whereas Satan was trying to tempt him with physical needs. This teaches us that we need to put our spiritual needs first. Grief is unavoidable. It can be caused by the death of a loved one, sickness, or maybe the loss of a job. We are told in Matthew 26.36-46 that Jesus, before being betrayed, went into the garden to pray, knowing that his time had come to fulfill God’s eternal purpose (Titus 1.2).
Jesus became sorrowful. Matthew 26.37-38 state, “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and he began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me.’” We are blessed by the fact that we have no clue when our time to die will come, whereas Jesus knew his time. How impossible it is for us to imagine that feeling, yet Jesus still put spiritual matters first. Matthew 26.39 states, “He went a little farther and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”
Jesus suffered most of all on the cross; he was mocked, spat upon, tortured, and finally killed. He suffered for you and me so that we can have a chance to be made perfect by his blood and send an eternity in heaven with him. NO matter what we face in life that can cause us to doubt, just remember Hebrews 5.8-9, which state, “…though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And having been perfected, he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”
Suffering and obedience to Christ will make us stronger Christians. So the next time you start to say, or hear someone else say, “If there is a God, then why…?” as the question, “Am I (or are you) better than our Lord and Christ?”