Friday, January 27, 2012
Why We Suffer Part 2
The next questions to look at are a conundrum. “Could it be that he himself (God) is the reason we are suffering?” Page 89. “Could it be that we have offended him (God)?” Page 89. Is suffering really our fault? Page 90. The Old Testament is packed with examples of God inflicting suffering on His people. “Even the people of Judah, however, did not keep the commandment of the Lord…So the Lord rejected the whole race of Israel. He afflicted them and delivered them over to plunderers, finally casting them out from before him.” 2 Kings 17:19-20. God was angry. In Genesis chapter 7 and 8, God sent the flood destroying all the people except Noah and his family. Noah was the only good man God could find worth saving. However, even the good suffered in the Bible. He allowed Satan to wreak havoc on Job, a very good man, causing him great suffering in the book of Job. Wow, God held these people to the fire.
What about today? Is God still angry with us? The Old Testament Bible showed us pictures of an angry God, a vengeful God. He was a new parent without a manual on how to raise His freewill children. He used the rod to discipline by causing plagues to descend on His idol worshiping people. God grew in His parenthood and formed a new game plan. He sent Jesus to die for our sins because so far throughout all of time, not many could die still in good standing with God. He became more loving by watching His own son work in this world filled with temptations. He stopped sending plagues. This didn’t stop the plagues or suffering, but He no longer inflicted the pain. The judging of a society stopped and He began to see each individual. I won’t believe God causes suffering since the time Jesus lived on this Earth. Natural disasters are a part of the law of nature causing suffering. Our freewill to turn to evil causes suffering for ourselves and others. But it is no long God whom causes suffering.
I offend God on a daily basis. Well, so far today, I don’t think I have, but yesterday I got angry at a car passing me. My son had to shush me because I was thinking bad thoughts about a stranger. I was not being loving or understanding. I offended God. I lost my patience with my daughter and yelled at her. This offended God. Did I suffer? Yes, I felt miserable about the way I treated my little ladybug. I did apologize, but I still felt bad. If I continued to yell at her, never had patience, and never apologized, I would cause myself great suffering. Our relationship would be destroyed, my fault.
When we offend God, we are at fault when we suffer. We aren’t struck with blindness or other plague like sufferings, but we do suffer in ways that apply to our act of offense. We steal a car; we suffer through jail time. We are mean to others; we suffer in relationships. We destroy our bodies with cigarettes; we will possibly get cancer. We participate in gossip and drama; our relationships crumble.
So, yes we offend God on a daily basis. We do cause our own suffering. No, God doesn’t cause suffering, but the natural world and laws that rule it causes suffering. I have had a few people send me their ideas of suffering. Many of them have expressed that through our suffering, we will then be able to appreciate our life more fully and we will long to be with Christ. In my own life, I enjoy my pain free days more than I ever did before. The reason is I know the pain of a body being consumed by ache so bad it leaves me bedridden. I now grab the pain free days and milk them dry with enjoyment. And yes, I long to be with Christ. I do want to wait for another 60 odd years, but I do look forward to that joy.
Blessing to you all.