Suffering: Are there forms of suffering God allows that we will never understand? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 5 parts answering the question, “Are there forms of suffering God allows that we will never understand?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-5 will be posted on succeeding days

When you are suffering, there are times when you can trace the cause to a decision you made, like jumping off a roof as a teenager and breaking your leg. The consequence was a broken leg and several weeks of pain while your leg healed. Then there may have been times you would suffer because you sarcastically told your best friend that he was as lazy as a full toad on a cool summer night (and I know one who might say that!). The angst of knowing your words caused the new isolation from your best friend left you wishing you could retract your words.

However, there are many other times when you have no idea why you are suffering. You may wonder why you were born with a certain disability such as autism, Down syndrome, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, club foot, or a multitude of other circumstances that most do not have to endure. What brought on those challenges that have led to so many struggles? There are often more questions than answers for the pain and misery in the world, especially when you believe that God is a loving God!

God May Choose Not To Reveal the Source of or Reason for Your Suffering

There are many forms of suffering “that God allows” for which you will not know the cause or reason. When the Lord Jesus was walking with His disciples, He saw a man who was blind from birth. The disciples immediately jumped to the conclusion that someone’s sin had caused this blindness. Jesus responded,

Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-5 NKJ)

The Lord Jesus did not deny this man’s disability, but rather affirmed that it was  for a higher purpose that the disciples were about to see. He also taught them the important lesson that HE is the Light of the world and therefore the basis for all seeing, whether physical or spiritual. It was not until Jesus gave this Divine insight that the disciples understood the reason for the man’s suffering.

We have looked at suffering in the book of Job many times. Job was never brought into the inner circle to understand why he was suffering. In just the first chapter, he lost ten children. They died in a huge windstorm that destroyed the home they were in, never to be seen again on this side of eternity. They were dead and would never come back to life. Furthermore, God never revealed to Job why they died! Job would never know that the reason was the appeal that Satan made to the Lord. He never understood that there was a higher spiritual purpose than just the refinement of theology that would happen in his discussion with his friends. Can you imagine the mental and emotional anguish of losing ten children? Most people would be extremely upset and blame someone – probably God!

As God spoke with Job, He directed Job’s attention to His sovereignty, full knowledge of every detail of life and ability to do all things. Job could only respond one way,

2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, `Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, `I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6 NKJ)

God did not reveal the reason for his suffering, but Job learned to trust the Lord through the anguish.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.


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