Making sense out of struggle

Lee's Summit JournalMarch 7, 2014 

I’m a chemist by trade. As such, many in my field try to explain the world around us by naturalistic means. While I understand their theories, I don’t see the world this way. I see evidence of God in so many things. I see his power in the mountains and the thunderstorms. I see his beauty in the sunsets. I see his wisdom in the complexity of the human body. I see his provision in the calm after the storm.

Admittedly it’s easy to find evidence of God in the good things in life. Even my youngest child comprehends this concept. But what about when bad things happen? While one person is thanking God for deliverance from the tornado, another family is struggling to understand why God allowed their loved on to die in the same tornado. Why do some really bad things happen to people who I think are really godly people? How I can I possibly believe in God when I see suffering in this world?

This is a real struggle of many people, including people who we firmly believe whole heartedly believe in God. Why did God allow this to happen? Why am I not getting relief from my personal tribulation? The answers sometimes never seem to come and what started out as a physical, financial, or emotional struggle becomes a real threat to our faith. There’s no way to even remotely do justice to these questions in a small column; however, here are a few things to consider.

These things may have come into my life because of my sins. We don’t like this answer at all and many reject this possibility immediately; yet, God may be trying to get our attention so we can correct a wrong in our life. In Amos 4, God told His people that the droughts, famines, and diseases which plagued the nation were because of their sins. God wasn’t trying to punish them but to get their attention so he could draw them out of sins. Sadly, God’s message also revealed, “Yet you have not returned to Me, says the Lord” (Amos 4:11). I need to honestly evaluate my life to see if sin has come between me and my God.

It seems sometimes God allows these trials to come in our lives to provide us with opportunities to demonstrate the depth of our faith in him. We shouldn’t see these opportunities to fail, but opportunities to let our faith shine. This is how I read the story of Job. He likely lost more than anyone else who has ever lived. He struggled mightily and the book of Job records his words of anguish. His words weren’t always perfect; however, he never left the Lord and remained firmly inside God’s hands, despite his many questions.

Trials also present opportunities for God to demonstrate His great power and love for us. This was the message to Paul from Christ. Paul said he begged three times for the Lord to remove a great trial in his life – likely an issue with his vision. The answer was “no” but for a reason. This particular trial in Paul allowed Christ to grow stronger in him. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Regardless of the reason God allowed a trial to enter my life, the Lord has given me a promise which I can turn to no matter how bad things might get in my life. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He is always there and the promise of his presence provides a peace which the world will never truly understand.

 

Jeremy Morris, his wife, and children attend the Church of Christ off of Murray Road. He can be reached at abletoinstructoneanother@yahoo.com.

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