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Why Pain and Suffering?

Researchers recently asked a cross-section of adults: “If you could ask God only one question and you knew He would give you the answer, what would you ask?” The majority of the people responded, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?”

That is not a new question. It is the age old question the patriarch Job asked in the oldest book in the Bible during his earth shaking tragedy (1:13-19). If you substitute in this passage the words “Sabeans” and “Chaldeans” with  "terrorists,” and tornado or hurricane for the strong wind you have the headlines in today’s news.

Job asked the same question, “Why?” seven times in chapter three. “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” (v. 11) Repeatedly, he asked “Why?” People still ask, “Why did God allow this to happen?” “Where is God?” “Why didn’t God do something?”

The Greek philosopher Epicures asked if there is a God, and if that God is good, why is there evil in our world? Epicures reasoned: “God either wishes to take away evil, and is unable; or He is able and unwitting; or He is neither willing nor able; or He is both willing and able.”

His reasoning raises other questions. Is He weak and feeble because He wishes to take away evil, but unable to do so? However, that does not answer to the real character of God.

Is He wicked because He is able and willing, but will not?

If He is weak, feeble and wicked He is not God. Then we must ask since God is not the source of evil what is its source? Since He is God and He knows the source then why does He not remove it immediately?

The prophet Habakkuk asked God, “Why do You make me see iniquity? Why do you cause me to look on wickedness?” (Hab. 1:3).

The prophet Jeremiah asked another relevant question, “Why has the way of the wicked prospered?” (12:1).

The Hebrew mind reasoned that all suffering is unjust and that God’s silence is inexcusable. In Hebrew, the word “why” is a cry of protest.

How strange that we call God on the carpet every time there is a tragedy, or crisis in our lives. We go to Him and demand that He explain Himself and He had better have a good reason that satisfies us or we will not believe in Him. Our insistence on demands from God in time of disaster borders on arrogance and spiritual infidelity.

The fact is the Lord God does not have to explain Himself to anyone simply because He is the sovereign God.

In the book of Job God is totally silent for 37 chapters. He patiently listens to Job and never says one word. Then He asked one question, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (38:4).

To paraphrase God, “You wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t decided to create you.” “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it” (40:2).

The Lord God is a sovereign, good God and His providence extends over all things including both good and evil. He demonstrates His sovereignty by His ability to bring good out of evil, and to use it for His glory and our good.

He is absolutely good and righteous; therefore, He can redeem that which is evil and use it for His eternal purposes.

I may not know the reason why, but the Lord knows, and that is enough.

I may not know why the Lord leads me in paths I dread, but the Lord knows and therefore I will trust and obey Him.

There is good in the world because God is good. We experience His goodness because He is the God of grace.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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