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Why God Permits Pain

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Why God Permits Pain

Post  Admin on Mon 31 Aug 2009, 2:35 pm

Why God Permits Pain

Date: For the Week of August 24, 2009

Pain is an unwelcome but important element of reality in this
world. It is not only often helpful but is absolutely necessary to human
health and well-being. How do you know to keep your hands away from an open
flame? To flush a grain of sand from your eye? Any physician will tell you
that a person whose nerves can't send pain signals will have serious
problems in living a normal life.

Yet there is a serious error in some churches, Bible study
materials, and personal belief systems when the naive claim is made that
true faith delivers one from suffering. Really? Then I wonder why it didn't
keep innocent Naboth from being stoned to death when wicked King Ahab
decided to seize his land? How could Stephen have been murdered for bearing
witness to Jesus? How could an assassin's bullet take the life of Martin
Luther King? Why are babies born with defects or innocent children become
victims of predators?

God allows suffering, but he is not the one who causes it and
sends it into our lives. We experience pain because we live in physical
bodies in a contingent world. We suffer emotional pain because we are
sensitive to misfortune, loss, and injustice. And the most horrible wounds
that come to our spirits are traceable to our own wrong choices - rebelling
against God and doing horrible things to one another.

Faith is not a vaccine against these things. If it were,
everyone would be a Christian for the worst possible reason! It would
indulge our selfishness. It would exempt us from the tough things "those
other people" have to face in this life. More correctly, faith is a
relationship with God that provides the daily presence, strength, and
encouragement of the Living Christ for whatever comes your way. It doesn't
exempt you, but it does sustain you.

Are miracles real? Does God still deliver people from their
suffering by clear and direct intervention? Certainly. But miracles are by
definition rare and out of the ordinary. So I'm suspicious of the person who
offers to make the uncommon and infrequent into on-demand events.

The answer Paul was given is surely the more typical reply to
suffering people: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Instant peace and easy answers
are not God's promise to you. His pledge is that you will never be unloved
and alone.

Pray for pain to be a bridge rather than a barrier for you.
Never feel obliged to deny its reality or menace. But trust God to provide
sufficient grace for each day. Give him the chance to turn Satan's attempt
to destroy your faith into a solid spiritual victory.

For back issues and other resources please visit
www.RubelShelly.com ----

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