This is Part 3 of 8 parts answering the question, “What are God’s purposes in why He allows suffering?” in the larger question “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 4-8 will be posted tomorrow and on future days.
God Allows Suffering to Show How Man often Has Wrong Priorities
When we accept that God is infinite and we are not, it’s easy to understand that we can obtain wrong priorities. We have a tree level perspective, compared to the bigger picture of God’s 30,000 foot or 100,000 foot view (It’s a good thing He has perfect eyesight!). For example, Israel wanted a king like the other nations (1 Sam. 8:5, 20). They wanted a king that they could see and hear as he led them. Certainly. they thought, their king would be a good, non-abusive king (even though Samuel the prophet had taught the people Israel about this! He had explained that this king would take their young men and put them into battle and tax their businesses to pay for the administration. The people would cry out from the extra pressure!). But they still wanted the king. It was as if God didn’t know how to be their King. It’s as if He wasn’t good enough or wise enough or strong enough to protect and provide for them. But God allowed Israel to have a king, so she would learn that man often has wrong priorities.
We often do the same thing today. We get caught up with people who look good, have the best voices or are the best in athletics or getting things done. We don’t realize that some of the most important people are actually those who are not so attractive, or don’t possess the best voice, or aren’t the most talented, but have the qualities of humility and holiness that please God and that He will work through to accomplish His will.
We might look at those who are in the limelight of our local church (or Christianity as a whole) as being the most blessed of God. We don’t realize that some of those in the background are His most essential servants! Joni explains that very well,
In the body of Christ we often admire the hands, feet, eyes, and lips, and all the showy, up-front gifts-the attractive parts. I tend to think Karla Larson would make a good pancreas in the body of Christ. Not very comely, not very attractive to look at. In fact, people do not even talk about the pancreas, but the body cannot survive without it. The body can survive without use of the hands. I can prove that. The body can survive without the use of the feet. I can prove that too. But the body cannot survive without a pancreas.6
How many times have we missed the boat by giving attention to “public” servants of the Lord, when the real celebration should be for the less well-off or “unattractive” saints of God! The beauty of learning about God’s purposes in why He allows suffering is that He wants to manifest His character through us.
6Ibid., p. 19.
Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.