38 NET Bible Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that everything comes--both calamity and blessing? 39 NET Bible Why should any living person complain when punished for his sins?
Lamentations 3:38 - 39
ESV - 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? 39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?
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As indicated in the verses cited in the question, nothing happens without God's permissive will (as opposed to His decretive will). Also, humanity (with the exception of Christ, due to the circumstances of His birth) is (and will always remain in this life) universally sinful. In that sense, any suffering that occurs in this fallen world could be characterized as the result of sin. At the same time, not every individual adverse event that happens to each person can be attributed to a specific sin committed by that person. (This is illustrated biblically, for example, by the experience of Job.) And, regardless of the source of any adversity, the Bible clearly says that God makes all such events work together for the ultimate (eternal, if not also temporal) good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
There are no random events in the world God created. They are all acts of God, either expressly directed by God or deliberately allowed by God. Calamity in our world has three sources; 1) directly from God, 2) directly from Satanic activity allowed by God, 3) natural events set in motion by God. In the beginning there was no suffering of any kind because God's creation was perfect. When human beings fell into sin, everything changed. Suffering entered our human existence and remains with us to this day. Some suffering is directly attributable to our own sin or the sin of others committed against us. However, most suffering is caused by the pervasive evil and wickedness in our world. Human beings are greedy, and use their power to take more than they need from the resources of this world. The result is millions of people suffering from starvation, preventable disease, homelessness (refugees) and hopelessness everyday. Human beings are proud and use their power and control to lord it over others every day. Millions suffer from bias, prejudice, discrimination and racism every day. Ethnic cleansing has killed millions of people. But God redeems everything for his good purposes. God uses suffering, trials, troubles, adversity, calamities, etc to turn people back to God, to lead them in repentance into a saving relationship with God. Many people experience much suffering in their lives before finally crying out to God to save them, and they receive God's deliverance and salvation and new life. Suffering is also caused by God's judgment against evil and wickedness. God will only tolerate so much rebellion against his will and then he will act to bring punishment upon the guilty. God used the nations of Assyria and Babylon to punish (discipline) the nation of Israel for their unfaithfulness to God to cause them to repent. But God also executed judgment against the evil and wickedness in these empires. The Babylonians wiped out the Assyrians, then the Medo-Persians wiped out the Babylonians. God also uses suffering in our lives as his "refiner's fire". He puts the heat on us to remove the sinful desires from our lives so that the image of Christ will shine through. God uses suffering to test and perfect our faith so we are able to accomplish everything God has planned for our lives. The apostle James said this: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).” All suffering is attributable to the fallen world we live in caused by human beings rebelling against God. But suffering is also essential for every Christian so we will become the people God intended when he gave us a second birth.
Suffering can come about for a number of reasons: 1. Job suffered - part of his 'education'. He ended up putting his hand over his mouth realizing he had much more to learn. 2. Abraham suffered - part of 'grace building', it is part of the maturing process - producing the fruit of the Spirit as we walk with God. 3. Paul suffered - preventative. The thorn in the flesh was given that he might not have a spirit of pride. 4. Achan - punitive. It was a direct punishment for his sin of taking what belonged to God. (Obviously his family knew of the sin and took part in it by concealing the theft.) 5. Christ - redemptive (the blood of Christ paid for our sin). I believe that it is at this time we can best glorify God. When we trust, rejoice, praise God, look for answers (grow in wisdom), be still or stand still and let God work then others SEE that we truly believe the God and Savior we claim to know.
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