Summary: There are some Biblical realities that we need to come to grips that will help us answer the question of where is God when life hurts?
Last Sunday I received a phone call from a man wanting to test drive our 2002 Ford Excursion that we had for sell. It was parked in Augusta and I told the man that I could meet him in about 15 -20 minutes.
I met the man and he seemed like a really nice fella that wanted to surprise his wife with a new vehicle. They had several children and really were in need of something that could transport all of them. He offered me a price lower than we were asking, I told him to take it for a spin around the block a few times and see if he liked it, I would call Stacy and discuss the offer. Just come on back and we’ll see what we can work out.
I called Stacy and we both agreed that it would be nice to bless this family as they didn’t seem to have too much and really was in need of the vehicle.
The man never came back with our Excursion!! He stole it and conned us. This was a huge financial loss for us and a big curve ball. It hurt, it still hurts and it will hurt for some time.
I don’t know why life throws us some curve balls, but it does. Why on earth God ever decided to create tornados, hurricanes, gnats, flies or even mosquitoes is beyond me, but He did. Life can hurt some times! I have asked the same questions of God that you have asked; “WHY?” “Why do you allow suffering and pain?” Why don’t you just take it away and help us?” “Where are you God when life doesn’t make sense?”
We believe that God is all powerful – so therefore He could stop all evil and suffering. And we believe that God is all loving – so therefore He would stop all evil and suffering. So we believe God could and should, but don’t, you and I sometimes think that He doesn’t care.
Has your faith been under fire lately because of the trials, struggles and suffering you have experienced? I can’t answer all of the questions of life, but there are some realities that you and I need to come to grips with regarding the question of suffering.
I. Reality #1 The gift of life allows us the capacity to hurt!
A. Because freedom comes with consequences!
1. It is true that sometimes we do suffer because of the sins in our life -the consequences of our actions. The person who has smoked all of his or her life can be saddened by the diagnosis of lung cancer but he/she is not necessarily surprised. The absent husband who pursued his career at the expense of his marriage can be devastated by his wife who is not home when he returns from work one day, but he should not be shocked.
2. God gave humankind freedom. We are not creatures who are void of choice. We do not serve God and live in His created world as robots without free choice and decision making.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
3. Jesus is present and He is involved in our lives even when we can not understand why we do not hear from Him or where He may be as a result of the suffering we are going through.
4. God encourages us to ask the tough questions. He is not insecure – He is God. He is not afraid of our questions. He has the answers. God knows that the hardships and cruelties of life will raise tough questions in our minds and, unlike some of His insecure servants, He does not demand blind, unquestioning obedience.
5. Sometimes we just have to wrestle with what is and hold on to what we know - but that does not mean we have to like it.
Illustration: Bethany Hamilton was born to surf. A natural talent who took to the waves at a young age, she was leading an idyllic, sun-drenched, surfer girl’s life on the Kauai Coast and competing in national competitions when everything changed in a heartbeat. On Halloween morning, Bethany was on a typical ocean outing when a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams.
VIDEO: “Soul Surfer, Why did this happen?”
6. Have you ever asked, “God why did this happen ?” Have you ever questioned God because of the circumstances and situations – the suffering and pain in your life? “It’s a bloody awful mess and that’s all there is to it.”
7. The Bible is full of questions. “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do times of trouble happen? How long will you hide you’re your face from me?