People In Pain: Things You Should Know About God and Trouble
Probably the hardest life experience for any religious belief system to address is the existence of “natural injustice” – the problem of pain in the life of one that seems innocent. The Bible grapples with this issue through literally dozens of life example stories. To understand the “why” of suffering, we must look broader than the simple explanations of each troublesome set of circumstances and investigate the larger issues of the nature of our God and the way He uses circumstances in our lives. The great truths of God’s purposes are woven together in the patterns of Who God is in the Scripture. The questions are not easy, but the answers are nevertheless very clear.
Because you are not a formula, this is not a formula approach. You are a person, dear to the heart of God. These are a collection of insights based on Biblical stories about pain and trouble that I believe help to sharpen our focus on why God allows suffering and how He wants us to respond to pain.
- God may cause or allow trouble and calamity in my life to lead me to repent of sin in my life. (2 Peter 1).
- God may use pain in my life to help me see Him in a new way, and learn to depend on Him more (Ex. 15).
- God may use trouble in my life to sensitize me to the needs of others around me (Mk. 6-7).
- God may allow me to face trouble because I live in a fallen world, and am surrounded by the consequences of the sinful behavior of others.
- God may use trouble as a press to test me. He may “squeeze me” so that I can see clearly who I am (and who I am not!) Dt. 5-7.
- God may use painful circumstances to help me adjust my appetites, desires and expectations (Ps. 90).
- God may remove some things from our lives to rearrange our priorities (Ruth).
- Some pain is a consequence of the wrath (consistency) of God. The sow reap principle, and other like principles fall into this category. (Eutychus and gravity).
There are responses that ALWAYS honor God when we are experiencing pain and trouble:
- Understanding that God has not lost interest nor power is the strength of my life (Habakkuk).
- Learning the greatest lesson: “God is GOOD!” is often the point of our experiences.
- Developing a sensitive heart for people and constantly being called back to searching out God’s heart is part of the Divine program.
- The companion of pain and trouble is a constant teacher and reminder of our need of our Father in Heaven.
There are three kinds of painful situations, each require different kinds of reactions:
- Situations in my direct control, that God desires me to learn from, confront and deal with in a Biblical pattern.
- Situations that are indirectly or partly in my control, where God wants me to surrender the part I cannot control, but face the part that is my responsibility.
- Situations where I cannot control any part of the trouble, God wants me to surrender to Him (acknowledge the obvious, that I rely on His work alone for an outcome that He will be pleased with.
We have two choices in our response to trouble:
- Turn and demand my rights, harden my heart and look for my internal sense of “fairness” to be satisfied. In this scenario, I expect life to bring honor and comfort and glory to ME.
- Count my life a privilege that is not deserved, soften my heart and try to discern God’s desire in my responses. In this scenario, I look for what can bring glory and honor to HIM!