Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Trials and Persecutions 2: It's Just not Fair!

When faced with trials and suffering, our first thought is often, "Why, Lord, why would you do this? It's just not fair!"

Perhaps though we are applying the blame in the wrong place here. It would be wise for us to examine the history of suffering. Let us start at the very beginning.

In 6 days, God created the world, and all that is therein. As he created it, he saw that it was good. Indeed it was perfect - with no tears, no suffering, and no persecution. But alas, that state of blissful perfection wouldn't last.

The Lord put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with one rule, and of course, they broke that rule. They were now sinners who were no longer worthy of being in the land of perfection. They were shown out of the garden and would soon find themselves in a life of travail.

In Genesis 3:17-19, we hear more specific details about the curse that fell upon all of mankind because of the sin of Adam.
"Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

R.C. Sproul further explains,
"God's immediate response to the transgression of the human race against his rule and authority was to curse the earth and human life. Death and suffering entered the world as a direct result of sin. We see the concrete manifestation of this in the realm of nature, where thorns become part of the garden and human life is now characterized by the sweat of the brow and the pain that attends even the birth of the baby."

Thus, if you want to be angry at someone when you are in the midst of a trial, your anger should be directed at Adam and Eve and not the Lord.

Indeed the Lord has been nothing but gracious throughout this situation. He would have had every right to just give up on humanity right then, to destroy us, or just to leave us to handle the struggles on our own, knowing the end would only cause us eternal suffering.

As such, every breath we take is a blessing from the Lord. We deserve nothing of this life! But the Lord has granted it to us anyway.

Even further, the Lord decided to save us from our eternal suffering by coming down to die on the cross! To go through physical and emotional agony just to allow us an opportunity to come into His presence eternally.

And just as if He hadn't done enough, he promises to strengthen us in our struggles in this world if we just cast our cares upon Him. As Christians, we don't have to go through this life alone. As Sarah Arthur explains,
"Jesus fought the war and came back to help us win the battles."

With these three great gifts from the Lord, it is so easy to see why James 1:17 declares,
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights."

I know that you might not want to listen to me. After all, I am just an 18 year-old man, who has probably never experienced true suffering in my life. Perhaps this is why at the moment, I only understand these things in my mind, but not yet the heart. But if we examine the words of Scripture as they come, we know that this is true, despite the fact that you are reading from a man with limited experience.

That which we have received of the Lord, we simply don't deserve. We are certainly right in this regard when we would sit and ask, "Why, Lord, why would you do this? It's just not fair!"

But when He takes material blessings from us, we feel hurt, even betrayed. But since we are not entitled to these blessings, why can't we be content with the blessings the Lord promises to never take away: walking in the presence of the Lord on this Earth and the next.

I pray that as I do find more trials in my life, I am able to believe the words of Job 1:21,
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

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