Pastor shares the fourth and final part in the series ‘Finding Purpose in Pain’.
Reading: Isaiah 35:1-9
For many people it is not the exclusivity of Christianity that poses the biggest problem, it is the presence of evil and suffering in the world.
Some find seemingly unjust suffering to be a philosophical problem bringing into question the very existence of God.
For others it is an intensely personal issue. They don’t care about the abstract question of whether God exists or not. They just refuse to believe or trust in any God who seemingly allows life and history to play out the way it has.
Just because we cannot see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
With both time and perspective most of us can see good reasons for at least some of the tragedy and pain that occurs in life.
Question to consider: Why couldn’t it be possible then, that from God’s vantage point, there are good reasons for all of them?
If you have a God great and divine enough to be mad at because He hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world then you have (at the same time) A God great and divine enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t possibly be aware of. – We can’t have it both ways
Let’s imagine for a moment that everything in our lives is working to. Let’s divide the will of God into two parts, (1) God’s purpose and (2) God’s desire.
God’s purpose speaks of His prerogative (right/choice). It cannot be spoiled by anyone or anything. Nothing can alter the purpose of God; whatever happens, it will come to pass.You could argue that the purpose of God is a function or characteristic of His sovereignty.
God will move anything, He will raise up anything to make His purpose come to pass. Whatever stands in the way of God’s purpose, He will uproot.
The second aspect to God’s will is His desire.
God’s desire is intrinsically linked to our cooperation with Him. Our faith and our willingness to exercise our God given authority on earth.
God desires that His children prosper and walk in divine health. But that is not always the case because its fulfilment requires the exercise of our faith.
God’s purpose speaks of the end of the matter, the destination. And God’s desire speaks of the route to reach the expected end, the process involved.
God defines good in the context of the end. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord thoughts of peace and nor evil to give you a future and a hope.’Jeremiah 29:11¨God’s eternal character is divinely focussed not on the immediate but on the ultimate.
‘The end of a thing is better than its beginning.’ Ecclesiastes 7:8
Many times the pain we experience is not God’s desire for us but He will take hold of it anyway and weave it into His purpose for our lives. At the end, it will work out for Good.
Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant it for evil against me but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’Genesis 50:20
You cannot discount the hurt and pain, the difficult things in life because all of them have contributed to making you who you are today and bringing you to this place in your life.
I have found that our greatest victories will often flow out of the place of our deepest hurts. (after we have received healing).
Where we have been hardest hit, will often become our area of greatest strength.
As a matter of fact, the place where the devil attacks the most in our lives is usually an indication of what he is most afraid of in our futures.
How was Moses able to lead a nation of 3 million people through a harsh, hostile wilderness? He was able to do it because he had been there before.
You have a choice, you can stay where you are and remain a victim for the rest of your life, you can choose to die in your place of pain.Or you can get back up and say ‘o.k. this is not the best deal for me but I’m going to take these scars and give them to God, so that he might take them as threads to weave into a beautiful tapestry.
Christianity presents us with a God who came to earth to deliberately put Himself on the hook of human suffering.In Christ Jesus, God experienced the greatest depths of pain.
The issue of tragedy, suffering, pain or even injustice is a problem for everyone.It would therefore, be a mistake to think that if you abandon belief in God it somehow makes the problem of pain and suffering easier to handle.
Choose to align your will with that of God, knowing that He is good, that He loves you and He helps us find purpose not just in but through our pain.