The biggest hurdle for many in believing in God is the problem of human suffering–at the hands of other humans.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals [of conviction] on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
Yesterday, we had confirmed that God is not One of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), but is the God of peace, and thus does not bring punishment upon mankind through natural disasters. Today in part two, we delve into the question of why He allows human suffering at the hands of other humans. But, before we do, let’s establish some parameters for our discussion:
- We will not sit in the Judge’s seat. It is not our place to “judge the Judge.” He is not on trial. He is God and we are not; let’s remember our place.
- We see from a very limited perspective, so we must be open to other perspectives, provided they line up with Jesus.
- Jesus saves us sometimes from the fire, sometimes in the fire, and always through the fire. (See Proverbs 18 6-18-21).
- With God, it’s always about relationship, not deeds, not long life, not accomplishments, not wealth, etc. It’s all about connecting with us.
With these things in mind, here we go.
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. Genesis 1:26a
We are made in God’s image. This includes the ability to choose. With great privilege comes great responsibility. Mankind chose poorly, but God was prepared. He knew we would and does not hold our poor choices against us (see Romans 3:25, 11:32, Hebrews 2:14-15, 4:14-16). Even so, our poor decisions affect others; they have to deal with the consequences of other people’s bad choices. We do, too. It’s been going on like this since Adam and Eve. In order for mankind to have Choice, God gave us complete Choice. Therefore, when people make poor decisions concerning the enslavement of other people, the hurting or taking advantage of other people, those people must deal with the consequences of those poor choices.
It is at this point that we remember that it’s all about relationship, so God comes alongside those sufferers and asks them to trust Him. He also comes alongside those who have made the poor choices and asks them the same thing. Jesus will walk both groups out of their consequences and into His kingdom of light IF they will listen to Him. Is it fair? What’s “fair?” Would you be willing to go through what you’ve been through to know Jesus on an intimate level? Paul said it this way,
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:10-11
The resurrection from the dead is what we will talk about tomorrow. For today, here are some questions to answer:
- Do you love Jesus?
- What was the main reason you “got saved?” To gain heaven? To miss hell? or to know Christ?
- Are you allowing Jesus to walk with you through your current circumstances?
Abba, when it comes down to it, we must choose You because You are You. Just the privilege to know You personally is enough! But, to be exalted to sonship–that’s incomprehensible! Keep opening our minds, Lord Jesus. Amen.