“I cry to You, O God, but You don’t answer. I stand before You, but You don’t even look.” (Job 30:20 NLT)
The second reason God tests us is to see how genuine our commitment to Him is.
But, you may ask, doesn’t God already know how genuine our commitment is? Why would He need to test it? Two reasons come to mind. First, for the benefit of those in our spheres of influence. It’s not hard for us to follow the Lord in good times. When our health, income, relationships, jobs and so forth are all going well, we can “coast.” We can get comfortable in our complacency. Walking with Jesus becomes “business as usual,” so much so, our love for Him can grow stale.
Further, there are those in our spheres of influence who don’t yet know the Lord, as well as those who do, who are always watching our lives. Some want to know if our love for Jesus is genuine/real. Others want us to mess up so they can compare their lives with ours and feel better about themselves. Regardless of their reason, we must stay fully engaged in our walk with God so that our heart keeps in step with the Spirit, but also that our witness to others is impactful and God honoring.
The second reason He tests how genuine our commitment is, is for us. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test Yourselves.” The Lord will sometimes allow things to enter our lives to prompt us to examine ourselves or allow us to suffer because we’re not willing to examine ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Paul urges the first century believers, and us, to do self-examination in the context of sharing the Lord’s Supper.
Communion is a sacrament that was, and should be today, taken very seriously. For people to participate who were living with unconfessed sin or with an unrepentant heart, was dishonoring to the Lord. That’s why in verse 30 he writes: “That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.” That leads to the third reason.
God allows His children to be tested in order to teach us a valuable truth.
C.S. Lewis, among others, noted that there are lessons we learn through pain and suffering that we can learn in no other way. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:13: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”
Paul had a physical issue he referred to in the Bible as his “thorn in the flesh.“ He asked the Lord three times to take it away, but God said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8) There are times God tests us to see if we love Him more than we love the comfort of our own lifestyle. He takes something away from us, or gives us something (an illness, a trying time, etc.) to see if we’re willing to walk with Him through it, rather than demand our own way.
The lessons we learn in those times are the ones on which our faith is built. Don’t shun the hard times. Embrace them with gratitude. Through them the Lord will give you treasures of wisdom on which you can build the solid foundation of your walk with Him.
I have a chronic illness that can be debilitating. Initially I begged God to take it away, but ultimately, I surrendered my will to His. God has taught me that He can be trusted without reservation, so I was able to say to Him: “Lord, I want what you want in my life. If lying in this bed is where I can serve you most effectively and fruitfully, this is where I want to be. Whatever You want, I want. I trust You.”
I’m grateful that most days He enables me to live without a lot of physical issues, but even if He doesn’t, my goal is to walk closely with the Lord throughout my day. My conviction is stronger than ever that I want what God wants for me – nothing more, nothing less.
If you are experiencing illness or suffering in some way, surrender yourself to the Lord and determine that you want the Healer more than the healing. That if your circumstances never change, you will trust Him to work in and through you in ways He never could before. Confess that you want to “See the kingdom of God forwarded in and through your life above all else, and you want to live righteously, trusting Him to give you everything you need.” (an adaptation of Matthew 6:33)
Blessings, Ed 😊
2 thoughts on “Why Does God Allow His Children to Suffer? (Part 2)”
This is powerful posting. Love it.
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