22 – Question 1

That is a very hard question that most people will ask at one time or another.  Whenever we see someone that we love that is suffering or loses his life, we wonder why the Lord lets things like this happen.  We may see a child suffering from illness or an accident and wonder why they have to go through such things.

Before we look at why things like this happen, I think it would be good to be re-assured of the love of God through His Word.  Nowhere is that more evident than in that well-known verse, John 3:16, which tell us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Try to wrap your mind around that truth.  God loves everyone so much that He gave His only begotten Son.  He sent His son to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins, that through him, we might have forgiveness of sins.  John would late write in 1 John 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”  The love of God is evident in the fact that He sent his only son, Jesus, so that we might have eternal life through him.  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, we read in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Obedient unto death; that means the Lord Jesus acted in obedience to His Father’s will in dying for our sins.  God the Father, sent His son to the cross to suffer His great wrath as the very Son of God hung on the cross and gave Himself as the one perfect sacrifice to take our sins away.  In view of this, how could we ever doubt the love of God?  We may not understand His ways, but let us never doubt His love.

As we think about the innocent ones that suffer, may we be aware of the fact that there are really no innocent ones.  The Bible is clear about that.  Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  Psalms 14:3 tells us, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  In fact, there are five times in the Bible that we read that phrase, “There is none that doeth good.”  I think we can see that when we think about good or innocent people, there really are none.  We have all sinned and we all deserve eternal death.

Let’s look at a few reasons that the Lord might allow us to suffer.  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we learn in Philippians 1:29 that it is an honor to suffer for the Lord’s sake.  It says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”  Peter tells us that suffering is good for us.  He says in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”  We may think that it is wrong that Christians have to suffer.  The Word tells us that suffering is to be expected, and that we should rightfully rejoice in our sufferings for the Lord.  After being beaten and threatened because of their testimony for the Lord we read in Acts 5:41 that the disciples, “…departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”  No matter how much we may be called upon to suffer, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are told in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  The sufferings we may have to endure here are slight when compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us when we are with our blessed savior.

I suppose that we all are saddened when we see little children suffering or even die.  That is so hard to understand sometime, but let’s not forget the love of God.  Let’s not forget how greatly the Lord loves everyone.  When we don’t understand why the Lord allows some things to happen, may we realize that “…the LORD seeth not as man seeth” as we read in 1 Samuel 16:7.  God sees things from an eternal perspective.  Our understanding is so limited, so we need to trust in the love and wisdom of God when we don’t understand.  Romans 11:33 says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

Isaiah 57:1 tells us that, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”  What a blessing this verse has become to so many grieving people.  Sometimes, the Lord in His infinite love and wisdom will take a person home to Himself just to save them from some evil will come upon them.  If a young person dies, perhaps the Lord has moved to save them from something in their future that will be terrible.  Is it such a bad thing to go to Heaven?  We sometimes have the idea that being on the earth is better than being in Heaven.  When a loved one is taken away at an early age, we somehow think they have been robbed of living a long live on earth.  Paul writes in Philippians 1:23-24, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”  He fully realized that to be with Christ is far better than being here on earth.  May we all realize this so that we may rejoice when a loved one is taken home to be with the Lord, where there is greater happiness than we could ever realize while still here on earth.  Psalms 16:11 assures us that, “…in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

For the believer, let us be reminded of the promise of God as found in Romans 8:28 where it says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  No matter what it is that we may have to go through, we have the promise of God that it will work together for good to them that love God.  (22.1)