One of my least favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 53:10
, “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer...” Even though I know how the Story goes, I don’t like this verse. Thinking that God’s will is to cause someone to suffer makes me uncomfortable enough, but the fact that this verses about Jesus has a profound impact on me. How can I expect God to protect me from hard times when his own Son was not exempt? How can I accuse Jesus of not understanding my suffering when He suffered for me? And how could I question the reasoning behind any cause for suffering when my own salvation is possible only after the Savior suffered?
Suffering is part of life, which ultimately, is God’s will. There is no way to avoid it, for God does that which he has planned (Isaiah 46:10
– “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”) Our part in suffering is how we choose to deal with it:
• Does it bring us closer to or further from God?
• Do we use it to receive or reject love from the Body of Christ?
• Do we learn from it or shrug it off as ‘bad luck’?
• Finally, do we use it to show others our consistent faith and reliance on God, regardless of the circumstances, or only trust God when we feel safe and secure?
tells us Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. We can have faith in our hope that God will provide whatever we need to carry out His will for our life (2 Corinthians 9:8
) even if we see no possible resolution for our sufferings. Trust Him, leave it to Him, Have faith, hope… and be certain of what you do not see.
Whenever someone asks me why God allows things like September 11th or the Virginia Tech shootings to happen, this is how I explain what God has shown me (the conversations go something like this):
Me: Would you allow a child to watch pornography?
Them: Of course not! They don’t need to be exposed to that side of life. I don’t want them knowing about things like that, so I protect them from such things.
Me: Exactly! That is how God is with us… he doesn’t expose us to that which we are to spiritually immature to handle. He wants us to focus on doing His will and trust Him to handle what we do not understand… just like us with children. We are His children, after all.
I have a niece and nephew, Amanda and Alex. Amanda, being older, is who introduced me to ‘Aunthood’ so I have a different bond with her than Alex. Alex is amazing and I am sure I will write about him soon enough, but let me tell you about my grandchild, I mean niece. Amanda is about to finish kindergarten and I love her like I have never loved before. Part of my heart is connected to her. Recently, some little girl kicked sand in Amanda’s face and told her she was ugly. My sister in law emailed me the story and as I read what happened, I felt anger welling up within. At that moment, I was thankful that Amanda does not live near me because I would have a hard time controlling my temper with anyone who was mean to her and Alex. (Be mean to my brother, I don’t care… just kidding!) If I would have been there, my hope is that I would have Amanda’s best interest at heart, and act in a Christlike manner, showing Jesus to both Amanda and the little brat who kicked sand (sorry- I am sure the girl had a perfectly good reason for her actions). Ultimately, I would want someone to take Amanda where she could not see me (this is my human reaction) and tell that little girl she better NEVER hurt my niece again. Amanda wouldn’t need to see this- she just needed to know Aunt Shelly will protect and support her. Will Amanda ever be hurt again? Of course. But when she is hurt, she knows she has a loving family who will do all they can to ‘make it all better.’
This is how I see our Father in heaven. He will not prevent hurt and suffering, but he will ‘do what He needs to do’ to make everything work out for our best interest. We may not see behind the scenes, yet we don’t need to know what takes place behind the scenes. He’s in charge of that. Our job is to leave the wrath toward evil to Him while we rest securely in the knowledge that God is Sovereign, and in complete control.