Translate This Blog Post

Purpose Amidst The Pain - God's Wisdom

Have you ever wondered WHY God has allowed pain and suffering into your life?  I know I have!  In July (2011) I wrote about my personal journey with chronic pain and said I would be writing more about it (as well as writing about living in circumstances that we find unpleasant).

The bottom line is that no matter whether you feel life is difficult, not fair, painful, or just confusing...there is often an innate desire within us to find the purpose.

In The Beginning...

I feel that to give you some perspective on my opinion regarding this matter, I need to first show you where I start when it comes to this subject.  I begin at the beginning....Genesis.  

When God made Earth and Mankind, there was no sin, no death, no separation between God and man.  God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  They had eternal a perfect world.  There is a reason why we have an internal desire for a life without pain, suffering, sickness, and strife....that kind of world is the one we were first made to live in!

"God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them..." Genesis 1: 27-28

"God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31

"The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Genesis 2:8-9

 In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve were tempted and fell victim to the serpent's lies and therefore ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which they were expressly told not to eat.  

"The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  Genesis 2:16-17 

Once this occurred, it changed the fate of humans and their life on Earth forever.

God told Adam and Eve that their consequences for their blatant disobedience to His instruction would be physical and spiritual death.  Spiritual death happened immediately - Adam hid from God and was aware of his nakedness and separateness from God as he was afraid of Him for the first time (Genesis 3:8-13). Physical death happened immediately as well - His human body began to die once the fruit was bitten.  This was the beginning of sickness and death (Genesis 2:17; 3:19).

From these first human parents, our DNA was changed forever.  Every generation from Adam onward would experience physical suffering, the decay of the human body and the vulnerability of the immune system.  In addition, mankind would live in a different kind of relationship with God, no longer together in the garden...but separate and in need of a Savior. 

Additional consequences were given as a result of eating the forbidden fruit. Mankind was expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24) which was self sustaining and perfect, providing them with all the food they would need for survival via seeds and fruit (Genesis 1:29; 2:9).  Being outside of the garden also meant they would be unable to walk in a physical and unhindered fellowship with God. (Genesis 3:8)  The land outside of Eden was hostile and mankind would now have to work laboriously in the fields to provide the food they would need to survive (Genesis 3:17-19).  Women would now have pain during child birth.  There was also a shift in the role of a wife after the sin of eating the fruit.  She would have a desire of equality with her husband that would not be met, as her husband would now rule over her (Genesis 3:16).

Do you think any of these consequences of that first sin might contribute to your pain and suffering?  Would you have your current circumstances or trials if you were able to walk in the Garden of Eden, being in fellowship with God the Father and eating of the fruit? 

I had mentioned before that I believe that in order to really understand a purpose for our pain, we have to go to the beginning of our story.  Because of the first sin, and the way it changed the world and our lives, we live in a world that includes sin, death, injustice, crime, disease, heartache, and disappointment.

That is the bad news, but the good news is that the story doesn't end there.  God sent the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and He comes to give us abundant Life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 

We are instructed that even though we are required to live in this post-fall world for a time, the redeemed must keep our thoughts and our focus on Jesus and on the eternal life that He has provided us through His sacrifice on the cross. 

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

We also must remember that God loves us more than we can even comprehend...that's why He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for all our sins to take the punishment for our crime. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, after He had to destroy our wicked world with the flood...he still loved us!  God wants to bless us, and He made sure that would happen for each of us who choose to follow Him!
"Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:4-5

So, you may be wondering, if God loves me so much then why is He allowing me to suffer?  One reason He allows such things is because we are subject to the consequences of sin in our current world.  That is why He has promised us a new world that we will live in for eternity.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1,3,4

The reason for suffering is 
not the same for every person or circumstance.  ONLY God knows the true reason, but the bottom line is that nothing happens in this world without God allowing it to happen.  That doesn't mean that it was His original desire for us (he showed us His original design in Eden).  

God does promise His people that He will give us strength and comfort to endure life this side of Heaven. 

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31 

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

God will cause good to come out of all of our bad circumstances if we are His.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 

Sometimes God allows pain and suffering for the purpose of bringing other to Him or to bring Him Glory, which is a way of sharing Him and His ways with others.

In John 11 you can read the story of Lazarus, the man (a friend of Jesus) who died and Jesus brought back to life.  Jesus knew that Lazarus was deathly ill because his sisters Mary and Martha had come to Him and told Him. He was deeply troubled when Lazarus died because He loved him and his family. But there was a greater purpose, if he had just healed Lazarus in the beginning it would likely have only effected his family and maybe a few in his community, but raising Lazarus from the dead is a story still told 2,000 years later!

We may never know the details behind the 'why's' of our suffering this side of Heaven, but we can trust that none of it is a surprise to God.  We can trust that God will give us the strength to endure and if we let him, the courage to come through it victoriously.  We can't be overcomers without trials to overcome.  Sometimes the biggest testimony is to be going through things that are obviously too difficult to endure alone (to you and to those around you) and for God to give you His peace and joy right in the middle of it all.  

Having strength to endure, courage to continue going forward, and the faith to give all your emotions about your circumstances to Christ and replacing them with His peace, joy, and love.....these are acts that give Glory to God.  This process is supernatural!  It takes us laying down our earthly cares, hurts, and feelings and replacing them with supernatural gifts that come from The God of Love.

Focus on Jesus....someday you may know the reason behind the hurt, or perhaps you will lose your desire to want to know, but either way you will be in relationship with the One who made you...who also happens to be the only One who knows you fully and has the ability to heal you from the inside out.

My prayer today is for all of us who have suffered in our lives, that we would be able to stop focusing on everything that hurts or all that is bad and replace it with the promises of God.  That supernatural peace would wash over us...and in the middle of it all we would find Joy....abundant Joy....the kind that makes us smile.  May we take all of our cares to Jesus and ask Him to take care of them, knowing that we are leaving it in capable hands.  May God bless our efforts of obedience and may we bring Him Glory.  Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or suggestions!