Friday

Why Not Me?

adversity, difficulty, God's comfort, Romans 8:28
“The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” ― C.S. Lewis*

1. Slander ruins a man's career.
2. A pastor has chronic health problems.
3. An honest politician is the target of repeated assassination attempts.
4. Believers are tortured and killed for their faith.

"Why me?" is a common question when faced with difficulty.

But a more reasonable question might be "Why not me?"

The Bible record refutes the notion that our earthly lives will be just and easy:

1. Slander ruined Joseph's career and sent him to prison (Genesis 39:1-10).
2. Young pastor Timothy had chronic stomach problems (1 Timothy 5:23).
3. Corrupt King Saul repeatedly tried to assassinate David (1 Samuel 24:1-12).
5. Believers have always been persecuted (Hebrews 11).

God doesn't promise earthly ease and justice, but He promises to comfort us (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) and use bad things for our good if we focus on His purposes (Romans 8:28).

*from The Problem of Pain

2 comments:

  1. This is a tricky one. Two extremes - a "neopentecostal" side where people foolishly believe all suffering is from the Devil and God wants to remove it, only patiently waiting for us to "declare" it or some variation of that - and the other "hypercalvinist" where all is decreed by God, and there is nothing you can do but toughen up and take it. God certainly uses suffering, but that does not mean He has pleasure in it (see Lamentations 3.33) - and AT THE SAME TIME we read of many Bible passages where prayers for deliverance were heard, David got military impossible victories, terminally sick people got healed and even dead were brought back to life. THAT'S the difficult balance - discerning when there is a way out and insisting on praying about it, and when God's silence is an eloquent "no" and it is time to accept a hard situation. I wish I had an easy answear to that, but I don't. We lose blessings both by praying wrongly and by not praying at all (James 4.2 - 3)

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    Replies
    1. Hi João,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I think I agree with everything you've written here.

      I think the reason atheists so often use suffering as a "proof" that there is no God is because they hate admitting that suffering is a complex subject.

      In fact, I think we Christians try to make it an easy subject by creating formulas for healing, insisting God never heals, looking for someone to blame (Job's friends), and/or insisting God never wants us to suffer. I agree that neither the neopentecostal or hypercalvinist views you mentioned have it right. They are trying to make a complex subject simple.

      Last night I typed for a man who can no longer use his fingers due to a spinal cord injury he received while working on mission equipment. His father was martyred when he was 5 years old. When his daughter was 20, she died suddenly. He is often asked about suffering, and admits that it's hard to understand.

      We always want easy answers, but there are only a few areas in life where we find them.

      When I wrote this devotion, I was trying to correct an error that many Christians believe, and sometimes I even let myself believe it for a while: that being a Christian means God will make our lives smooth. I actually think that some forms of evangelism draw people to the Christianity by telling them God will give them joy, peace, hope, and purpose and make all their problems disappear.

      The truth is that joy, peace, hope and purpose are easy for anyone to have when they are problem-free. But the Christian can have those things in the midst of suffering, confusion, and injustice. Very often my life and faith are most impacted by those who are faithful in suffering.

      I personally always pray for healing and/or deliverance, hoping that it will come. But if it doesn't come or comes slowly, I ask God to help me face my suffering in ways that will make me a better disciple of Jesus.
      Gail

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