“Answering the Right Question about Human Suffering”

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We read in Scripture that a Christian’s earthly life is to be likened to a pilgrim passing through a strange land (Hebrews 11:13-14; Philippians 3:20). Life on earth should be very strange to every believer, because it is so unlike heaven – his true home (John 14:1-3; 17:24). Heaven is a perfect realm, but the earth is cursed because of original sin (Genesis 3:17-19), and ongoing sin, both through everything and everyone that moves upon it (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 5:12; 8:20-22). 

We also learn from the Word of God, that Satan has been allowed by God to move daily upon the earth (Job 1:7), seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). In addition, we know that the world around us desires to have us on its team (1 John 2:15-17), and always and fully conforming to its ways (Romans 12:2). Is it then any surprise that our Lord once said, “...each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34)? Beloved, a troubled realm brings trouble to all within its borders, and it doesn’t help matters that each one of us is a bundle of trouble as well! Obviously, our Lord was also right when He said, “...In this world you will have tribulation...” (John 16:33). Indeed, the above truths point to one main truth; namely, that this world is full of difficulty, every day, all day. Just think about what potentially could happen to you, each day, on this sin-cursed globe: Personally – sickness, disease, car accident, house problems, financial stress, parenting challenges, marital disharmony, job insecurity, educational pressue, life-changing decisions, losing your wallet, computer problems, identity-theft, etc.; Societally – a crime outbreak in your neighborhood, terrorist attack(s) upon our nation, congressional conflict, civil unrest, increased unemployment, interest rate and tax hikes, higher medical premiums, disease and death, etc.; Geographically – natural disasters, like: a hurricane, tornado, famine, earthquake, etc.; and Spiritually – battles with you own weak flesh, constant satanic temptation, being pursued by a seducing world, confronting others or being confronted about your sin, or theirs; church conflict(s), and being the object of persecution because of your conviction about Christ’s imputed righteousness. Dear reader, you know, I can make this list go on and on, but I won’t! You get the idea – each person, every day, must go through many trials and tribulations (James 1:2-4). But, the world asks, why is it that bad things happen to good people? Some Christians try to unravel the many possible reasons why there exists this supposed “problem of pain” in our lives. However, God wants us to be amazed that anything good happens to bad people like us, each day (Luke 11:13). Remember, “only” God is good (Matthew 19:17)! The real problem, we ought to have, in this necessary discussion, is with “the problem of pleasure.” Is it not truly amazing, that we who are evil, are enabled to experience any good things in this sinful world? Yes, this is truly an amazing testimony to the existence of God’s non-saving, yet very benevolent, common grace (Matthew 5:43-45; Luke 6:36)! C.S. Lewis, may have been on to something, when he said, “The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” Hmmm …So then, beloved, if we daily seek to apprehend the goodness and grace of almighty God, in all our trials and blessings (Psalm 103:3), I believe, we will learn to be much more humble, prayerful, and thankful before Him (Ephesians 5:20). Therefore, let us draw near to God, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow morning; in our public Worship, both through the praises and prayers of His people; and through the reading and preaching of His Holy inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! … Soli Deo Gloria!

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