This is Part 3 of 3 parts answering the question, “Is the Joy of Jesus Greater Than the Suffering God Allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”
While Joyfully Suffering You Learn to Hate the Effects of Sin
I love the attitude that Joni has toward her disability. She humbly recognizes that one day all the effects of sin will be thrust away from the righteous (not as a result of anything that they have done, but because of the great love and mercy God has shown through the Lord Jesus!) Joni records,
And then I will say, “Lord Jesus, do you see that wheelchair over there? Well, you were right. When you put me in it, it was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in that thing, the harder I leaned on you. And the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. I do not think I would ever have known the glory of your grace were it not for the weakness of that wheelchair. So thank you, Lord Jesus, for that. Now, if you like, you can send that thing off to hell.”3
And so we conclude this study on suffering. The effects of it can be excruciating and make life so difficult! However, God hated the effects of sin so much that He was willing to do something about it. He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross to remove the sin barrier so that man might be reconciled to Him.
Is the Joy of Jesus greater than the suffering God allows? Absolutely! But we need His filling to keep our eyes on Him in the midst of our circumstances. One day we will be rid of all the effects of sin, including suffering – by either death or removal from earth when the Rapture takes place. Child of God, may you find His sustaining grace sufficient as you venture through the valley of the shadow of death! May you keep your eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith! May you disciple others to fix their eyes on the Lord Jesus and fight from the Lord’s victory on the cross! And remember as Ezra encouraged those who arrived back into the land,
Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground…9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:1-10 NKJ)
1Joni Eareckson Tada, Why, O God. (Wheaton: Crossways, 2011), p. 19.
2http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2012/07/why-does-god-allow-tragedy-and-suffering/ accessed on October 24, 2014.
3Joni Eareckson Tada, Why, O God. (Wheaton: Crossways, 2011)., p. 324.