This is Part 1/5 answering the question, “What are man’s way of overcoming the suffering that God allows?” in the larger project answering the question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-5 will be posted in succeeding days.
In the previous chapter we looked at man’s way of dealing with the suffering that God allows, and noted that in all things there is a difference between man’s way and God’s way! There are some intelligent souls who think they have good ideas on how to deal with pain. However, like the manufacturer of an automobile, God is the Creator of the creature (man). He is the best One to consult on how man ought to think, speak and act! Hence, even in suffering, we should go to the Word of God to find solutions, but most do not. What are man’s ways of overcoming the suffering that Gods allows? What are the solutions that man sees as legitimate answers in dealing with suffering? Let’s note three major ways man seeks to overcome suffering.
Three Ways Man Seeks to Overcome Suffering
There are three overarching ways man seeks to overcome suffering. First, he reacts to it by shaking his fist at God and life in general. Secondly, he acts independently toward God and develops a multitude of plans and schemes to remove it from his life. Thirdly, he passively acts indifferent toward God by believing in moral relativism, evolutionary philosophy and/or one-world-order coercion to control how suffering could or should be overcome or removed. these are man’s ways at best and provide empty long term solutions. Each of these can provide a temporary reprieve, but over the long term no one will never escape the reality that there is a reason for suffering in the world and only by being totally dependent on God can a person find victory. That will be explained more in Part Four.
A good reality check is what Daniel Thomson writes regarding disabilities. In Part One, a multitude of ways man suffers were outlined, noted, listed and discussed. Disabilities were mentioned as a consideration of difficulty many currently do or will face in life, not only to the disabled person, but also to their family and friends. It is a fact of life, not a judgment. It’s easy to be oblivious to or ignore suffering if we are not suffering ourselves. And in the opulence of the United States, it is easy to consider suffering as what happens “to other people.” Thomson emphaiszes that we are all one step away from disability and therefore need to face how we may have to overcome suffering in the future,
A label that everyone without a disability wears, whether knowingly or not, is temporarily able-bodied. It describes people who are not disabled but are closer to the possibility of disability than we may realize. The prevalence rates confirm this. As age goes up, so does the prevalence-from one in sixteen among children to one in two among senior adults. Much time, money, and effort can be invested in creation and leading a disability ministry that serves “others.” One day, however, this ministry may in fact serve you! What would it mean then to you personally? What would it mean to your family?1
Yet even those with disabilities may seek man-centered ways of overcoming suffering. Let’s look at each of those three categories of “man’s way” of overcoming the suffering God allows.