Greg Laurie shares on why God allows suffering…
Have you ever wondered why God allows tragedy? Maybe it’s hit you, something has happened – a call from the doctor with bad news, the unexpected death of a loved one like we’ve experienced, or just a personal struggle you’re facing.
I think of the Apostle Paul, here was a man who walked with God and was used by the Lord powerfully but the Lord allowed in his life what he described as ‘a thorn in the flesh’. We don’t know what that was, but it was so bad that he prayed about it all the time and he asked the Lord to take it away. Some believe it was some kind of physical problem. Of course you know that Paul was beaten a bunch of times and it could have been an injury that resulted from one of those times.
Whatever it was, it was something physical that was hard and he asked God to take it away and here’s what God said to him: '”My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)
That’s really true, because you know when you go through hardship you’re sometimes hoping that someone will have the right words to say to you to fix it. But here’s what God effectively says: I will be with you. When Jesus said to Paul ‘My grace is sufficient for you’, He was effectively saying to Paul ‘you need Me’. That’s the answer, ‘you need Me’.
Let me put it another way, when you’re in times of hardship you cling to God more tightly than other times and you realise that the answer is God. A closer relationship with God, walking with God. ‘
David said in Psalm 23:4, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’
I think it’s a greater awareness of the fact that you need God and that God is with you. You cling to Him and rely on Him. You’re not so self-sufficient. You realise that only God is sufficient to get you through these things.
Another reason that God can allow suffering is so we can help other people. Paul wrote, ‘We comfort with the comfort we have been comforted with’. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
When you’ve gone through something and come through the other side, you can go to someone who is going through it and bring great words of encouragement. In effect, you’ve been given the right to address the subject because you’ve survived it, or you’re surviving it.
I think God can really use you to help someone else so they don’t lose hope, that they know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s the thing, we can pray and sometimes God will remove our problems. Sometime He’ll heal us of that infirmity, but sometimes our problems don’t go away. But God is still with us.
Jesus said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ (Deuteronomy 31:6) We have a greater hope than this life here on earth, it’s a life in Heaven in the presence of God.
For now, all of our questions are not answered. We all have questions as to why this or that happened, but there will come a day when we see God face to face and all of our questions will be answered.
Until then we need to walk by faith. We need to trust God and remember that His grace is sufficient for us.