Thoughts on Trouble and Suffering

I was reading through one of my daily devotions the other day, and the topic was trouble. At the same time, the Thursday night small group that I attend is reading through an excellent book called "Hope in the Dark," which deals with the issue of remembering that God is good in the midst of trouble. Right now, we are experiencing a pandemic that I would call trouble. Because this has been on my mind, I wanted to share some thoughts on trouble with you.

First, all of us are going to experience trouble at some point in our lives. We cannot escape this. The reason why we will all experience trouble is because we live in a fallen world. The natural result of the Fall is that we will experience trouble in this life.

In addition, sometimes, people choose to do sinful and evil things. They may choose to assault or otherwise hurt someone else. They may choose to steal and destroy or otherwise deprive others. Sometimes people choose not to love their neighbors as themselves. We recognize these things as evil.

There are also other consequences of the Fall that are now part of the natural world. For example, now, everyone dies, both physically and spiritually. These things are the result of the Fall, and there is nothing any human being can do about it.

Having said all of this, I think a final point has to be made. The trouble that we face was not part of the original creation. That is, God did not create a world of trouble. God saw everything that He made at the beginning, and it was very good (Gen. 1:31). God is good, and everything that He created was good. With this being said, we cannot reasonably blame God for the evil that is in the world.

Does God leave us in our trouble, though? Is He there? We've already seen that everything that God does is good, and a good God would not abandon us in our trouble. But in what way is He with us in the midst of trouble? Romans 8:28-29 tells us that God is working all things together for good, and that good is that we look more like Jesus, who never did evil and saves us from our sins, the first of which allowed evil into the world. God has made us a new creation if we are in Christ. So God is working in the midst of our suffering. In fact, He is working all things toward renewal. One day, there will be a new Heaven and a new earth--one without pain, suffering, sin, evil, or death. One day every tear will be wiped away from the faces of those who trust in Him.

But does He understand? By this, we mean on more than an intellectual level. Does God actually know what we are experiencing? I think the answer is yes. Jesus came to this world. He didn't have to, but He did. He lived a sinless life, never committing a wrong against anyone else. When he was beaten and spit on, He asked God to forgive those who were torturing Him. The fact is that Jesus is the only person in all of human history who deserved to be free from suffering, and He willingly suffered on our behalf. His motivation for this was love. We can be confident that God not only understands what we are going through, but also loves us despite the difficulties that we face. It is Christ's suffering on our behalf, and His resurrection from the dead three days later, that gives us hope. So yes, there is hope in the midst of suffering and trouble and difficulties of life. God doesn't promise that things will always be easy, but He does promise that He will not leave us alone in the middle of it.

Recommended Resource: Hope in the Dark: Believing God Is Good When Life Is Not


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