This is Part 4/5 in answering the question, “What are man’s ways of overcoming the suffering that God allows?” in the larger question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” Part 5 will be posted tomorrow.
Overcoming Suffering by indifference toward God
When Adam stood by Eve, during her conversation with the serpent, he was passively indifferent toward his responsibility of protecting her (Gen. 2:21; his arm protects the rib). He knew God’s command (1 Tim. 2:14), had a fear of the Lord (Gen. 3:8), yet chose to not act to protect his wife (Gen. 3:17). In other words, his circumstances were more real and more important than his relationship with God. He did not make it his aim to please the Lord (2 Cor. 5:9). Whatever the motivations, he chose to stand by rather than be responsible. The same is true for how many seek to overcome in suffering. Often, those who suffer ignore or are indifferent to God’s ways of victory in suffering.
The first way of indifference is through his self-esteem. Just as pride was Satan’s downfall (Is. 14:12-14), so pride, or self-esteem was Adam’s down fall. It doesn’t make sense that man would allow his pride to get in the way of seeking dependence, comfort and provision from the Lord in suffering, but he does. The entire world became indifferent toward the Words of the Lord (through Noah) before the flood (they ignored Noah’s warnings during the ark building project and an additional seven days of grace Gen. 7: 1, 4,5,10,16). Pride produces horrible consequences, even in suffering, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Pro. 16:18 NKJ) Yet it is that pride of many in the Tribulation that, rather than face the Lord, will cry out for rocks to fall on them,
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Rev. 6:15-16 NKJ)
They are in suffering and ask for more suffering? Rather than humbly submit to the holiness of God, many ignore God, even in their suffering and would rather continue to suffer under a rock pile!
The second way of indifference is emphasizing self-worth. This idea holds that because I am so valuable (far more than other creatures of God), I should not have to suffer. That said, man believes he deserves a worthy life-style or life free from suffering. This is man’s perspective that asks, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” It is the finiteness of man that thinks he understands the infinite character and way of God. It is the foolishness of man that thinks he can understand the wisdom of God. It is the inept logic of man thinking he can rationalize the transcendence of God.
Millions have jumped into the evolutionary idea of millions of years for the creation of earth. They have become indifferent toward the absolute truth of Scripture. They have taken the evidence of life, removed God from the premise and developed their own conclusions based on finite and foolish rationalizations. Actually, evolution looks at suffering as just a normal part of the time, chance and death continuum of life. Evolution teaches the strongest and the fittest will survive and the rest will suffer. Unfortunately, many Christians have taken the idea of evolution and just added it to the Bible trying to let it all make sense, not realizing that the two are incompatible. In evolution, there has been suffering and death since the beginning – for millions of years. However, Genesis 1:31 states that God’s creation was “very good,” which is incompatible with millions of years and graveyards of skeletons that are maimed, disease-ridden and oppressed in death by the stronger over the weaker. The problem is when people try to combine evolution with the Bible, the Bible is modified, not the theory.