God Knows What He Is Doing
We can trust God when we go through afflictions.
God does not create the afflictions we face in this fallen and corrupt world! He is not the author of evil. The devil is. When Adam sinned, he and the whole human race suffered the consequences. That’s why people in this world face problems, sickness, tragedies and death. We also suffer because of the ungodliness, unrighteousness and injustice of world systems as well as individuals’ corruption, perversion and slavery to every kind of sin.
As believers, we must not fear when God permits afflictions to come our way. The Bible teaches us that we have a loving Heavenly Father who does not enjoy torturing or persecuting us for His entertainment! We are His beloved children, and He deeply cares for us. He hurts when we hurt, and He is near to the brokenhearted and compassionate toward the afflicted and suffering.
The afflictions we face as children of God are carefully measured by God.
They cannot come without His permission. We see this very clearly in Job’s life. We read that God had put a hedge of protection around this man, and the Enemy could not touch him, his family or his possessions. Even when God permitted afflictions to come his way, He set definite limits that Satan could not cross (see Job 1 and 2).
They are temporary afflictions. Job’s afflictions were for a limited time, and so were Joseph’s sufferings as a slave in Egypt and David’s struggles because of King Saul. The writer of Psalm 119 clearly states: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word” (v. 67). The words “was” and “now” tell us that his afflictions passed. Even if someone’s affliction continues until death, we must remember that death marks the end of all suffering for a child of God. From the perspective of eternity, all our earthly afflictions are temporary.
God uses our temporary earthly afflictions to teach us His ways. The intention of the devil is always that the afflictions we face in this world would cause us to walk away from God (see Job 1:11 and 2:5). God, on the other hand, uses the very same afflictions to draw us closer to His heart, strengthen our faith and cause us to know Him in a deeper way.
The Bible is full of incredible truths that people learned through difficult times:
Job declared by faith: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). After his encounter with God, he said: “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee” (Job 42:5).
Joseph told his brothers: “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).
David wrote: “For by Thee I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29).
The writer of Psalm 119 concluded: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes” (v. 71).
We can trust God 100 percent that He knows what He is doing and that He does not make a single mistake. How can we be sure? There is so much we don’t understand when we encounter suffering and pain. Often we ask, how could a loving and all-powerful God let this terrible thing happen to an innocent child or to a dedicated believer?
When we have no answers, we must always go back to the basic things we know for sure about God:
God is love (see 1 John 4:8).
God is good (see Psalm 136:1).
God never changes (see Hebrews 13:8).
He always will be love and He always will be good. This has to be enough for us until we reach heaven. Then our perspective will be different, and all our questions will be answered. Only God knows and understands everything about afflictions. We are not God!
We must be careful not to judge others when they go through suffering! If someone is afflicted, we cannot simply say, “This sister suffers because she didn't learn to obey God. Now God has to teach her the hard way. She brought this on herself.” Remember, there are a million other reasons why someone may go through emotional or physical pain, such as an injury, a child going astray, a tragic death of a loved one or the effects of old age.
The disciples judged a blind man wrongly, thinking his condition was the punishment for his or his parents’ sin. Jesus told them that his blindness was “in order that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
We must not give wrong advice to someone who suffers. We will cause a lot of confusion and damage if we wrongly evaluate someone’s afflictions and then tell the person, “It’s your own fault that it takes so long for you to be healed. The faster you learn your lesson, the sooner your afflictions will be over.”
We must not deliberately bring afflictions upon ourselves or others for the sake of learning spiritual truth. In many religions, people inflict physical and emotional suffering upon themselves in the hope of gaining spirituality. Nowhere in the Bible does God ask us to torture our bodies, forsake normal life and deprive ourselves of any joy so we can become spiritual. If we do these things, we only damage ourselves and others.
We must never conclude that if God teaches us through afflictions, then it would be wrong to interfere and ease someone’s pain. This kind of faulty thinking would prevent us from alleviating any pain and suffering in this world. It would cause us to not use doctors and medicine to get well, set broken bones, feed the hungry, save a child from drowning, comfort people in their distress, stop a crime, end a war or even pray for those who suffer. This is an entirely wrong and unbiblical way of thinking.
Wherever Jesus found suffering, He responded to it with the Good News of God’s love, healing, deliverance and restoration. He fulfilled the scripture:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18–19).
On the cross, He bore not only our sin, but also our sorrows, grief and sickness (see Isaiah 53:4–6). When Jesus sent His disciples out for ministry, He commanded them to respond to suffering just like He did (see Matthew 10:8).
In conclusion, God is good! Though He uses the afflictions we face as human beings to teach us spiritual truth, at the same time, He is also our Healer, Deliverer and Savior.
May the Lord bless you and keep you close to Himself.
With love and prayers,
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