This is Part 1 of 4 parts answering the question, “How do you minister during the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-4 will be posted on succeeding days.
When enduring the agonies of life, the farthest thing from most people’s minds is serving or ministering or helping someone else, and you may feel the same way. You are the one suffering, so why should you have to think of someone else?
But what if it is suffering that you will have to live with for years? Does that mean that you can “check out” from ministering to others? Do you now have an excuse to be focused on your own situation and forget about others?
Praise God that even while Jesus was persecuted, He was still thinking of you! He endured the most agonizing pain, not for Himself, but for your benefit and blessing. Most of us would not be willing to do this to others; it’s only by the divine empowerment of God’s Spirit. When you minister to others while you are suffering, you reveal the greatest pictures of God’s empowerment and Divine actions toward others.
God Allows Suffering to Continue
We cannot possibly understand an omniscient mind, and how decisions made today have an effect on circumstances of tomorrow, or even the next century! The “ripple” effect is enormous, and finite minds do not have the capacity to comprehend what only the infinite has planned and allowed.
We want a “Pillsbury dough-boy God” where everyone is happy. We don’t fully understand how a God of Divine love will discipline His children in order to stir them up to seek after holiness. Instead of reacting to suffering, we need to respond by seeking after Him faithfully and depending upon His strength. God often sends us through the valley of the shadow of death, which to us seems pointless and unnecessary, so we will meditate on the cross and find His grace sufficient through the application of His Word in the power of His Spirit. As we deny self and carry the cross, we experience the resurrection power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, and we overcome the pulls of the world and the ploys of the enemy. Jesus explained this “kingdom building project,”
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matt 13:36-43 NKJ)
God could destroy all evil, but He instead left it on earth while His kingdom is being built. And through the Divine building process, whether suffering or not, we are called to minister to others for the sake of that building project. The key is to follow Jesus’ pattern of ministry.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.