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Everyone has their own experiences of suffering, and their understanding of it within the context of God. Have a read of others' views here. You can email your views to info [@] carelinks.net and we will consider adding them

 

The problem of suffering, evil, satan, the devil and demons

     

 

    1. Sin and Suffering


    The wider problem of suffering and Divine justice is well addressed in the book of Job. He was a wealthy man, who earnestly served the Lord. But he suffered terribly, lost everything, wealth, family and health. His friends held the view that obedience leads to blessing, and disobedience nets suffering- straight away, in this life. They start speculating as to what sins of Job would’ve merited this suffering. Was it a woman? Abuse of workers? Idolatry? Job searches himself and finds himself innocent of such sins, and becomes increasingly worked up and distressed. He really is innocent, so he feels; and God is unfair. And as the book progresses, the friends become increasingly convinced that they are right and Job is wrong; he needs to just fess up and confess what he has done wrong, and his blessings will return. The book ends with all of them being demonstrated as seriously wrong. Yet until that point, our sympathies are actually with all the characters and all the arguments; they all seem fair enough, from a human viewpoint.

    The Divine answer is not what we at first blush would like to hear. We are all sinners, Job included. And God simply doesn’t pay out immediately. He is working according to a far bigger program, which wishes only our eternal good at our latter end. And Job becomes a prototype of the future sufferings of the Lord Jesus, the parade example of the righteous suffering unfairly. It is the issue of human sin which is one of the keys in all this. We are sinners, and we need to take that more seriously. We have no right to life, for the wages of sin is death. It’s no good blaming Adam; for if we were in his shoes, we would have done the same. That is how I understand Rom. 5:12 “For as by one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.

    If we have no right to life, how much less do we have a right to a life free from suffering and full only of what we perceive as blessings. Here again the Bible has a case study to help us. Solomon had all that men would regard as blessings: health, wealth, women, reputation, ability and freedom to pursue whatever path of interest took his fancy. And the book of Ecclesiastes shows us that without God as the central factor in human life, all those blessings do not bring happiness. Happiness, in the sense of freedom from suffering, therefore doesn’t exist in ultimate terms- without God. Our calling as believers is to walk humbly with our God (Mic. 6:8). Happiness is often only perceived in retrospect- we look back at a period in our lives as happy, but that’s only because memory is selective. We simply have to ditch the idea that life now must and can be just great. The life without suffering is not for now; believers will eternally live it, in God’s Kingdom. But for now, we must live in a suffering world, and suffer ourselves, to prepare ourselves for that eternity. Human history is not even a millimetre along the eternal line of God’s infinite life which He wishes to share with us. And yet some miserably object to having to suffer briefly now. Throughout infinite future time, God will lavish His grace upon us in the ages of eternity. So says Eph. 2:7.

     

 

 

 
 

© 2016 Duncan Heaster
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Contact Duncan at dh [@] heaster.org . An outreach of Carelinks Christadelphian Ministries