Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jesus Did It, Why Shouldn’t We? or Not “Why” but “What For?”

When Job’s friends try to figure out why he is suffering or what he has done to cause it; he gets no answer from God. God shows up, but does not explain why. Perhaps that is the point.

In passage after passage in the Bible, it seems that suffering here in this sinful, fallen world is linked to the glory of God. Most of the time people are to caught up in their suffering to notice, but God is there. For the Christian salvation is not a protection against suffering. The children of God are told they will continue to suffer in this world even more for having followed Christ. God tells us He will use the sufferings we face to cause us to grow, to make us more holy and to glorify Himself through our lives. In our sufferings we grow closer to God.

People have a tendency to take verses from the Bible and, removed from their context, make them into things they were never intended to be. People love to use Romans 8:28 to say that the bad things in their lives will turn out good in the end. It really says God will use the bad in our lives to do good, not that He will always make the bad things better. Another favorite of these misquotes is Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you…” Everyone uses this one to say that God’s plans for us are always for good things to happen to us. They fail to even see that here God tells His people they are going to have to endure 70 years of exile. His plans are for good—a couple generations in the future!

Never let anyone lie to you in saying that suffering is not a part of the Christian life. It most definitely is—but so are the rewards that come through it.

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