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One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life's trials and tribulations. Why would a good and loving God allow...
"Why bad things to good people?" This question has not been satisfactorily answered. The understanding of God's nature as revealed in the Scriptures provides the key to unlock this mystery. We are all too familiar with the redemptive names of God such as Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Rapha. But there's another name by which God has revealed Himself: Jehovah-Makkeh, meaning, "I am the Lord who strikes the blow!" (Ezek 7:9). Explaining the blessedness of God's chastisement, one of Job's friends said, "Though He wounds, He also bandages. He strikes, but His hands also heal" (Job 5:17,18). Prophet Hosea endorsed this ancient thought (Hos 6:1). Both the day and the night are God's (Psa 74:16). He has appointed the day of prosperity as well as the day of adversity (Eccl 7:14). Both woe and wellbeing proceed from the mouth of the Most High (Lam 3:38). Hebrews Chapter 11, called the Faith Chapter, is the favourite of Christians everywhere. But what about the twelfth Chapter? The writer himself calls it a "forgotten" truth (v 5)! Majoring on Hebrews eleven and minimizing the teaching of the twelfth Chapter will leave us half-baked. The Christian life is a race (Heb 12:1). Runners get rid of all unnecessary weight when they get set on the track. When unnecessary things occupy us, God gets angry. He is displeased when any pastime steals our prayertime, or the reading of a secular magazine sidelines Scripture meditation. All idols must be excluded from our life so the Lord alone may be exalted (Isa 2:17b,18). Even blessings at times can blur spiritual vision and blunt spiritual sensitivity. Eternal values become obscure and earthly blessings become our objective. God cannot tolerate this. He is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29)! When everything seems to be going alright, He will suddenly send a storm. He is interested in the removal of everything that can be shaken so that only that which cannot be shaken may remain (Heb 12:27). He lays us down on our backs so we may look up! "The Heavenly Father never takes away anything from His children unless He means to give them something better," said George Muller (1805-1898) who illustrated in his times remarkable faith on God whether the passage was smooth or the going was tough!
I don't believe that God puts us though trials or tribulations, at least not by his will and design. Many, many, years ago I read a book written by a professional umpire in the major leagues. He tells a story about a game where he was umpiring behind the plate calling balls and strikes. He explains that he always counted to three before he made a call so as to make sure that he gets it right. This habit was annoying to some pitchers, as 3 seconds felt like 3 minutes sometimes. He recalls a game where he was calling balls and strikes. It was late innings in a close game.An important pitch was coming up. The pitcher, pitched the ball and it hit the catchers glove, as always he began to count. As he was about to make the call, the pitcher walks off the mound,arms in the air and asks" well what is it". He explains what happened next. He removes his mask, walks to the front of the plate and says "ITS NOTHING, UNTIL I MAKE IT SOMETHING'. So it is with life. There is no "good or bad" things. Everything is nothing until you make it something. We should try to find the "positive" in things life throws at us. That is sometimes difficult and sometimes we fail. But if we can be successful half the time, you will see so much more of Gods rest and peace. I know this seems to simple, as I didn't connect scores of dots, quote dozens of verses. Try to find "joy in all things".
I offer a very simple answer in addition to those of Rev Michael Houdmann and others. Each one of us look at the world from our own unique perspective shaped by our values. On certain things we arrive at shared views with others. It is the shared ethical values that make us raise a question like this. Underlying that question is the shared value of 'fairness'. Is God being fair by allowing us to go through trials and tribulations in an uneven way? Just like we look at the world from our perspective, God looks at His creation from his Divine perspective. Since we do not possess such a perspective we tend to use our own logic instead to raise these types of questions. Let me answer the specific question by posing a different question. What kind of father would send his own son to be tortured and brutally murdered by a mob? What would you say if you knew that he not only sent his son to be tortured and killed but also knew precisely what pain he would go through and yet ignored his cries, did nothing to stop it, even though he could anytime? Well that is our God the Father, and the son was Jesus. So why do we try to understand the logic of our Father? We should always tell ourselves that if the Father allowed his own son to suffer and die, then our trials and tribulations are trivial for what rewards await us in heaven, all achieved through the suffering of our Lord Jesus.
We do not learn much when things are going smoothly. It is only when we hit the rough spots in the road that we learn. There is no other way. It is the only way we can learn to truly trust Him. Does the potter not know how to mold the clay? Does He not know what is needful for us? Does He have no plan? Is He not in control of our lives? Do we know what is going to happen tomorrow? The question is not why bad things happen to good people, but why do good things happen to bad people. Only God is good. There will be times in our lives when we are in a place where there is total darkness and we can not see any good way out of the situation that we are in. We cry out to God for help, and all He says is trust Me. I have no understanding. I can see no good coming from this at all. But who can know the mind of God. Who can tell Him to do anything. Who can tell God He has made a mistake. The foolishness of God is wiser than men. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. How He brings that to pass is up to Him. Praise God I do not have to figure it all out. If I try my wisdom is destroyed in a moment. His ways are not our ways and our ways are not His ways.
I would like to emphasize on three basic reasons why God allows different kinds trials and tribulations to come our way in this life. Firstly, due to Adamic curse, our earthly lives have now become very uncertain and completely unpredictable. We do not know what will happen to us next moment. As a result of the earth now becoming cursed (Gen.3:17), we now have all kinds of calamities that can happen to anyone of us at anytime. Our physical bodies are now soubject to the death process. Sooner or later, every single one us will have to physically die before we can cross over to be with our Lord. Though we are now all new creations in Jesus Christ as a result of our conversions to Him, and though we all now have the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of us to help empower and lead us through this crazy life, none of this will remove the Adamic curse factor that is still in full operation on this earth. The second main reason God will allow different kinds of trials and tribulations to come our way in this life is for our own sanctification in Him (2 Thes 2:13). God’s ultimate and highest aim for all of us is our sanctification in Him. God wants to make us into a better and more holy people. He wants to transform us into the express image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to consecrate and set us apart unto Himself. The third main reason why God will allow a certain amount of trials and tribulations to come our way in this life is for the express purpose of testing our faith levels in Him(1 Jn 5:4-5). It’s very easy to have high levels of faith in the Lord when everything is going good and great, but let any kind of severe adversity come knocking on our doors, and many Christians will start to lose their high levels of faith in God once the going starts to really get tough. There may be many other reasons. However, I would say God will not slap us with severe trials and tribulations (2 Peter 2:9). Overcome the tribulations with cheers and courage (Jn 16:33)
My short answer on this topic is one of respect for God's omnipotence and ultimately for the respect that "before the beginning of all creation He loved me" and had a plan for me. Being that we are His children and as the children's Sunday school song goes, "God loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.. God loves the little children...All the children of the world. We are precious in His sight.....God loves the little children of the world". Since we are "a new creation in Christ", as His children, we have to experience life, which includes good, bad, hurt, pain, suffering, etc, etc. So, along the way, in the process of learning good from bad, we will encounter trials and tribulations. Important to understand is that when we become a Christian, we are "a babe in Christ". We have to experience the learning process, which also includes many trials, tests and tribulations along the way to maturing as a Child of God. God tells in His Word that "we will suffer much for His namesake". God wants us to mature in our newfound faith, not to remain as a baby, but to grow and mature in our walk with the Lord, "learning to trust IN Him; not leaning upon our own understanding" so that His righteousness may do a mighty work in us, so that "we may be found faithful unto the Lord, unto that day of redemption". "Iron sharpens iron" as the saying goes and so therefore, we each have "to endure to the end". Jesus Christ suffered and died for each and every one of His children, and that includes you and me! The Apostle Paul wrote that "he found it all joy, to suffer for the Cross of Christ, for to do so is to be found approved, Holy and Just before our Lord and Savior". "Come unto me, all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest". Glory be to God, in the blessed name of His Son, Jesus Christ...AMEN! ~~Andy~~
We suffer trials and tribulations because we are followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself was made perfect through what he suffered, the trials and tribulations he faced. Look at Hebrews 5:7-9: “ During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Jesus said if we wanted to be his folllowers, we had to deny ourselves and take up our crosses. When we pursue a trouble free life we are not denying ourselves. When we avoid suffering and pursue pleasure at all costs, we have not taken up our crosses. We suffer because of our own sin and the sin committed against us. We suffer because we are advancing the kingdom of God and pushing back the forces of evil and darkness. Many trials and tribulations are, in reality, spiritual battles we are facing. Our human life is a scratch on the line of eternity. This human life is simply a “test” and a “trust.” Our faith is tested and refined through every trial and tribulation. God demonstrates his faithfulness and we learn to trust him no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. The suffering we face builds the character of Christ into our lives, and this is the only thing we take into eternity, that accompanies our soul to heaven.
Years ago I said to an elderly lady that I was selling a expense antique to after my older brother broke a glass panel out of the furniture--not once but twice--while moving it into her house: "Why can't life be simple? Why does life have to be so hard?" She proceeded to tell me that life is unpredictable; just appreciate the fact that someone somewhere was having a much worse time than you. "Now having a severely handicapped child wasn't enough," was my thought afterward, but I was thankful she still bought the furniture after replacing the glass twice. I also realized that life has tribulations, sorrows, disappointments, sickness, times of lack and times of plenty. The only sure thing I got is a future and a hope to be with the Lord when this life's joys and sorrows are completed. Jeremiah 29:11 And I can always find somebody that is better off or worse off than I am, but my sorrows and sufferings have given me an ability to weep with those that are weeping and rejoice with those that are rejoicing. That is a requirement of my faith, that I have received much reward and gratitude of opportunity to minister to others in need. Romans 12:15 Without rainy days can we really appreciate sunny days? And without cold days can we really appreciate hot days? Longsuffering tempers us like tenderizing a steak can make a steak tastier. Our suffering in this life can develop qualities in us that might never happen without a little suffering along the way. John 16:33 When I was a child, I thought like a child; when I became a man I put away a lot of selfish thinking and reasoning because the word of God opened my eyes to my life filled with selfish ambition and selfish thinking. 1st Corinthians 13:11 Selah, Maranatha and Shalom
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