Suffering: Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering? Part 7

This is Part  7 of 7 parts answering the question, “Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”

God Allows Satan to Tempt Believers 

Why does God allow Satan to tempt believers? Temptations are allowed by God for His glory and the believer’s ultimate blessing. They began in the Garden of Eden and continue through today. Is this because God has lost control? Absolutely not! Is it because God is not powerful enough? It cannot be, because then He would have lost control and that is not possible, because He is sovereign! Is it because God wants the best, but sometimes does not know how to provide the best, which is in our eyes is a suffering-free world? Certainly not! Until sin is completely removed, there will be suffering. The presence of sin reveals the existence of this rebellion. So why does God allows Satan to tempt us?

First, remember that every trial and difficulty, including temptations, are designed to lead us to maturity in the Lord. James wrote,

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jam. 1:2-4 NKJ)

Temptations are some of the trials in life and if the believer trusts in the Lord through them, his faith will grow stronger, with greater dependency on Him.

Second, God allows Satan to attack us, so that we will find our strength while in our weakness. The strength comes from the Lord as Paul wrote,

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:7-10 NKJ)

It may be very difficult for those who are in chronic suffering to repeat Paul’s words, “I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” and yet is His power sufficient? Is the strength of Jesus enough to see us through each valley? Is the joy of the Lord, because of the gospel message, our strength? Do we not believe that what He has started at salvation sufficient in us?

Indeed, those who trust the sovereign mercy of God will believe that God is working a Divine work in us. Peter said it so well,

10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Pet. 5:10 NKJ)

After we experience various forms of suffering, we can always reflect back that God has an eternal purpose that may be far beyond our finite comprehension. The question is, will we humble ourselves and trust God by faith, or will we in sin question Him?

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you describe some of the suffering you see as caused by Satan?
  2. If Satan argues with God, why does God allow that argument to continue? Why doesn’t God just destroy him? If God is infinite are there some things that we may not understand until eternity (Deut. 29:29)?
  3. Can God ever be unfair? Does it seem like life is unfair at times? In what way?
  4. Are believers immune from demonic influences (Eph. 4:26-27)? How are they, or not?
  5. Does temptation cause suffering today? Isn’t the purpose of temptation just to get me to do things I want to enjoy? How would you explain this concept to a young person?

 

1Waters, Larry. “Reflections on Suffering From the Book of Job” Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (October – December 197): 442.

2Ibid., p. 443.

3Ibid., p. 445.

4Ibid., p. 443.

5Ibid., p. 442.

6Ibid. p. 441.

7Ibid., p. 447.

This completes this question.

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