"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why, God, Why?

Scripture to reflect upon for Thirsty Thursday: Romans 1:28-32 (The Message)
Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags. They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. …And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best.

I have been thirsting for knowledge lately. I have been crying out to God for answers, seeking some sort of understanding of why the world is so disturbing and full of suffering. I almost let it destroy me.

And then today during my prayer time I told God I didn’t need to know the answers. All I needed to know was that He is God, and He is the Creator of all things. That’s all that truly matters, and I let the questions go. And that’s when God took me to this scripture.

I don’t think I need to elaborate on it, or break it down for you, because The Message does a great job of doing that for us. The reason I’m sharing this particularly long scripture with you today is because there are many people who ask the very same questions I was demanding God to answer. The world is so lost in this one question: Why all the suffering, God?

God isn’t the one creating all the suffering…we are! When you reject God, you reject peace and safety. When you reject God, you reject goodness and harmony. The world rejects God, therefore we have suffering. God reached out to people and they refused to acknowledge Him. God basically said, “You don’t want me? Okay. See what life is like without Me, then,” and He let them go. And this—all the pain and suffering you witness day after day—is the result.

Do you think this is what God wanted? Absolutely not! And to think otherwise is utterly foolish. Our God is a God of love, peace, healing, compassion and honor. He grieves for those who refuse to acknowledge Him, and that’s why He calls on us to share the Good News of Jesus. He gets the glory when Jesus redeems, delivers, and saves! And then watch those newborn Christians venture out to try and save the world, too. Witness the transformation of salvation! And see who goes out and relieves the suffering of the world…missionaries. And when the world asks you why they need to spread the gospel while helping to relieve the suffering, tell them that it’s not just about relief from suffering, but also the desire for others to receive the joy and hope of salvation as they have received.

So when non-believers begin to badger you about topics of suffering, murder, rape, poverty, etc., send them to this scripture. Make it clear that this is not God’s doing, but their own. Give them a choice to make a decision to put God back into the world, or continue to watch the world suffer at the hands of their own selfish and evil desires. Challenge them to change the world. Ask them to stop blaming God, and instead blame the ones who create the horrific nightmares so many people have to endure: God haters.

God is the Creator of good, not evil. The enemy, and those who listen to and believe the lies, are the creators of angst and suffering. The reality is found in this scripture; they know exactly what they are doing, and the world rewards them for it. Look at how the world has glorified Charles Manson, Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, OJ Simpson--the Broadway musical and smash hit movie, Chicago, tells the story beautifully. The media makes them celebrities, and you buy into it. YOU make them rich when you buy their “tell-all” fairytales. You give them their undue fame when you watch their made-for-TV mini-series, or big-screen flicks. YOU create the nightmare and then ask God…why?  Every time you press the lever, using uneducated guesses in the voting booth, you create the mess everyone has to suffer, too.

We need to educate atheists and non-believers that when it comes to suffering, God is not the answer. God is our hope. He is the only way our world will EVER know peace. Not through science, or politicians, or hippie-dippie do-gooders. Jesus said that He came to give us peace—His peace. And then followed it with, “I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). The peace of the world is unreal and comes with a very high price tag. It comes with agendas and greedy motives. It is a façade. It is false and superficial.

The world is dazed and confused, but merely by their own disbelief and desire to cut God out of their lives, out of our lives, and out of any routine functions of life. So when anyone asks you, “Why does God allow suffering,” God gave you the authority through His Word to teach them of their own wrong doings and how it affects the world (“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16). Please read my recent blog, 5 Answers to Tough Questions About God.

NOTE TO SELF: This is a call to action! We have every right to ask God about the concerns of the world, and every single answer we seek is found in God’s Word. The Bible lives and breathes, providing hope and redemption, and as His children we are given the tools to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Photo credit:
Question Mark sculpture
Jean-Michel Folon
Forte Belvedere, Firenze

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