God permits all sorts of things He does not approve of.
This sentence jumped off the page of the page at me. I am reading a newly acquired book, “Why, O God? Suffering and Disability in the Bible and Church“. I received this book as part of my participation in the Amazon Vine Program. (more about that in another post perhaps)
This book is a compilation of various authors dealing with several topics surrounding suffering and disability. The article I am reading is “Redeeming Suffering” written by Joni Eareckson Tada. She speaks of her initial neck injury which has resulted in her paralytic condition. Initially as she struggled with how God could allow this to happen, a friend named Steve shared Acts 4 with her. This is the passage:
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. (Act 4:27-28 NAS)
Verse 28 was the verse he shared. [They did]…whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. Look at the list of people that are referenced there: Herod & Pilate – wrongly trying Jesus in court Gentiles – Roman soldiers who mistreated Christ; the peoples of Israel – family, friends, disciples, religious leaders, etc all who abused, rejected, blasphemed, denied and left Christ to suffer alone.
There is a lot of evil there. And God predestined it to occur so that salvation would be available to you and me.
Think about the evil in your life. Perhaps its a sinning spouse, a wandering child, a disease that occupies your mind, time and resources, pain that never leaves, a bank account that remains empty no matter how hard you try to save. It doesn’t take too long to find something in our lives that is difficult to deal with.
And God has permitted it.
I will tell you this: I do not understand how that is supposed to work entirely. I absolutely cling to the fact that God is in control. If there is one single truth that keeps me rolling out of bed in the morning and empowers me to do my ministry, it is that God is sovereign. Honestly, I don’t like any of this stuff happening to me personally. I feel stretched to the limits of capability.
But God has redeemed suffering.
I’m beginning to understand the reasons for suffering. It keeps me close to Jesus. This same Jesus Christ suffered, not just physically, but he satisfied the wrath of his Father in my place so that I might have peace with his Father. Can you see why I love 2 Corinthians 5? Some day…Some day…this tent will break down for good, I’ll draw a final breath, struggle for survival and lose. But I’ll win. Because the next breath is heavenly…