Where is God in the Pain
Why Would God Do this To Me?
This is the cry from so many believers when we encounter difficulties. The devastating things that can happen to us and our loved ones, caused by others, diseases or natural disasters sometimes leave us wondering where our God is.
Straight away I'm going to say Jesus experienced this feeling when he said "my God my God why have you forsaken me?"(Matt 27:46). If we start at the cross and think about the hours of pain and torment followed by the most agonizing death you can think of then we can put some perspective on our pain.
Jesus suffered. The thing is, there was a purpose. In his suffering he made a way where there was no way. Look at the miracles He is still performing today! Jesus' sacrifice means that we can live forever in heaven. Yes he suffered: temporary pain, eternal purpose.
Straight up - same goes for whatever you're going through. This life, this trouble you are facing is temporary. Step back, look around and remember this is not your home. Heaven is our home. Let's refocus and give you some encouragement to face your burden.
The movie version of the controversial book "The Shack" is in my view the best way to get your head around this subject. It may require you to put some theology and doctrine aside and just enjoy the creativity and concepts that are explored. I personally found it really spoke to me at a deep level about pain and God.
Does God Cause Suffering?
Absolutely not. God is pure love and it hurts him when we hurt. There's a scene in "The Shack" when the main character Mack is confronted with a choice of sending one of his children to hell. He's pressed and pressed and finally not able to do it he says "take me." This is what God did for us, sent himself in human form, Jesus his one and only son and allowed him to be a human sacrifice. It is His will that everyone would find him.
The fact is that this world is ruled by Satan and his partnered fallen angels or demons. There is an ongoing battle in the spiritual between good and evil. The light and the dark. We have disease, famine, natural disasters growing as we approach the end of the age and evil people who do unspeakable acts to fellow humans. This is as a result of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which damned us to death.
God does not cause the pain, evil causes it. Why some people are healed or delivered and some aren't is a mystery we'll not know this side of heaven. I had a friend who was the most beautiful person you've ever met die of cancer at 35. This was a faith struggle for me (I've had many) because I look at all these rotten people inhabiting the planet and can't fathom why he took her. But she went home to her Father and I'll see her again.
What is the Purpose of Suffering?
I'm going to tell you something that gave me a revelation and helped me cope with the suffering I have experienced in my life. The purpose of the pain is the same for you as it was for Jesus. Salvation. It's a common saying now among believers - let your test be your testimony.
God's ultimate goal every single time is salvation. This life is all about God's plan to reach people and have relationship with them, and for them to be forever in his kingdom. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God. When we simplify this and look at how others have connected with Jesus through contact with, and the testimony of believers we can refocus on the bigger picture.
I came to this revelation when I watched "90 minutes in heaven." The Pastor died and went to heaven and when prayed for came back to life, only to face the excruciating pain of years of rehabilitation. Imagine his anger after experiencing the love of heaven's embrace to return to unimaginable pain having extensive parts of his bone structures crushed. What happened is he finally realized he was sent back so he could tell people about his experience. Now he travels telling his story bringing encouragement tp others suffering and using his experience for the Kingdom.
My Personal Pain
I am a person who has suffered. I have experienced physical, sexual, spiritual and psychological abuse. I am only now in my 40's coming out of the cloud and asking why. I have been through extreme anger at God, unforgiveness towards him even. The biggest thing I struggle with is trusting him going forward when I've seen so much pain.
Now I've had this revelation I have started to plan a future personally and professionally around how to help people with my experience. Just today I was speaking to a woman and she shared about some relationship struggles she was having with her current partner. I identified from her story that this man was emotionally abusing her in a very manipulative way not identifiable unless you know what you're looking for. I was able to share one of my many painful stories with her and as I was talking I could feel in my heart a peace. This is the purpose for the pain.
When I watched "90 minutes in heaven" it made me realize that the we are travelling through this world until we go home to Jesus. Our journey here and the things we experience are about God wanting relationship with us, and with other people. The pain we have suffered becomes our testimony which can encourage others and connect them to God.
I know it's hard when you are suffering to look up. Many times when we are in the storm we are just surviving, trying not to drown. Remember Jesus never leaves your side. He's crying with you and holding your hand. Open your spiritual eyes and cry out for some peace and some strength. You might see a miracle, you might endure for a while before the trouble ends, but at the end of the day you'll have a testimony... and I'll see you in heaven!