Bad things happen, but why?
Why do Christians suffer?
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
I’m not early this week but I am doing better than last time. Keep me in your prayers that God will guide me in my walk and protect me as I serve Him.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
A popular question many Christians and non-Christians alike ask about God is why people must suffer. The classic problem of Evil. It’s no problem if you’ve studied the bible but for many it is challenging.
There are three major reasons people suffer
I. Adam. Adam sinned and the world was cursed.
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return
The very ground was cursed. What is meant by the ground being cursed? Well it means nature is no longer at the command of Adam. He is no longer in control. He will have to fight for survival. Disease, climate, weeds and thorns, are all things that will plague mankind.
So when we experience the effects of a devastating hurricane it may be nothing more than the sin of Adam once again striking. We must all suffer because of that sin. The world is cursed and it is not cooperative. Sometimes we think we’ve tamed the world and that we are in control. Then we see the devastation after a hurricane or tornado and we realize that we are not masters of this earth.
So now that mankind no longer rules the earth who does?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
Satan. Satan is the prince of the power of the air. He usurped our stewardship of this earth.
But is Adam the only reason we suffer? Is he the only ancestor that can affect us? By no means.
9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
At times in the past, God would punish Israel for many generations. Daniel was a man of God but he suffered from the punishment God placed upon Israel for their disobedience. He was carried off into captivity even though he was blameless.
Sometimes, the sins of our nation, our family, or our ancestors can cause us to suffer. The power of sin to affect our lives is great.
II. We have sinned.
God does not treat lost people like he does a Christian. We are God’s children. He loves us very much and he disciplines us. In fact, when we are chastised by God it is a sign we are His. He only chastises those who are His children.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
We should fear not being chastened. If we continue in sin without God acting, then we are not His for God does not let His children disobey Him without correction.
What about lost people? Do they suffer for their own sins? Why yes they do.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life
Those who sow to the flesh and refuse God’s grace will reap corruption. Lost people are going to suffer eternally without the grace of God. This verse applies to believers and unbelievers in that whatever we do it will come back to us. If we sow to the Spirit, and do God’s will, we will receive blessings leading to eternal life.
III. God’s plan
We often wonder why we suffer especially if we feel we have done nothing serious enough to be receiving so many bad things happening to us.
There is the story of Job. Job was tested and made stronger by God’s intervention. Job was a righteous man who God was actually bragging on to Satan. Satan disputed what God had said and God allowed Job to be tested. Job did nothing to deserve what happened to him next. So why did God allow all of this to happen? God used Satan’s ill intentions to make Job stronger and deeper in faith than he’d ever been. Job experiencing so much trouble had to learn some lessons about God. Only at the bottom of the pits of despair could Job see God in all His glory and purpose. There is a whole book on what happened I suggest you read it.
Another story is Joseph. Joseph as a young boy was sold into slavery. Did he do anything wrong? No. At least not enough to warrant slavery. Joseph suffered for a long time in prison. Joseph could have been angry with God over his plight but he was not. He was faithful to God. In the end God blessed him.
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
God made Joseph second in all the land of Egypt. He knew the intentions of his brothers were evil but God had a greater plan. He used their evil intentions to put Joseph were he needed to be to save the peoples of that part of the world.
So in concluding, we should be very careful ascribing one of the reasons above to someone else as only they know where they are at in their walk. We should realize that while we think it is their sin it might well just be the sin of Adam or it might be God working in their life.
In our own lives, we should be seeking anytime we experience hard times. What is God trying to teach? Have I sinned and need to repent? Is it just Adam’s sin and something I can do very little about other than keep serving God and His plan to reach others and disciple them.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.