I love the Lord. But, tell me, what do you think about a person who is suffering from chronic pain and there is no way out of it. I have asked myself, did I do something wrong? No, don't tell me that my suffering will glorify God, because I will never believe that suffering brings about anything good. And don't tell me that suffering comes from Satan because we are told that God would only have good things for us, so that must mean that Satan has more power than God or he would have prevented the accident. The Bible says, "ye have not because ye ask not". That is not true in my case. I have asked for 6 years now. If I suffer for 10 more years will that brings great glory to God instead of suffering just the 6 years. The Bible says, "if ye being evil know how to give good things to your child, how much more your Father in Heaven would have good things for you. "If your child ask for an egg, would ye give him a serpent? I have to admit I have lost faith. 6 years of suffering will also wear on your mind, some people go crazy because of the pain, some lose their sanity". Are you suffering or do you have any malady right now that would keep you from doing your day to day tasks? Do you have pain?
My response is in Green:
Thanks for writing me. First let me say that I am terribly sorry that you are in constant pain. Also right up front let me tell you that I am often very blunt, that is not because I don't have compassion or understanding, it is just my personality. I told you that so if I seem too blunt you will understand, I am not doing it on purpose, but I don't know any other way.
You asked if I suffer from chronic pain. Well yes and no. I do have constant pain but not to the extent that I take it you have. I was in the military for a total of 14 years and am now out and have a 10% disability. I have a bad back and two bad feet. Yes they cause me pretty much constant pain, but it is not what I would call bad pain. In other words, I am able to function in daily living pretty well. I have bad days when I have problems operating in a normal fashion, but not constantly. Therefore, I will not try to tell you I understand what you are going through.
You said not to tell you that pain brings glory to God. Okay, I won't, I just wonder why you thought I would? I have to think that you read one of my devotionals about suffering. If so and that is the reason you made that statement, then you misunderstood what I was saying. What I said and what I meant was this; I believe that if we are able to look past our pain and still give glory to God, that is a very special gift to Him. I believe that God hates the pain we suffer, but that it is part of our fallen world. My whole point was that angels never have pain or a bad day, once we leave this physical body we will never have a bad day (assuming we go to heaven) and we will never again feel pain. When the angels and the saints who have left their earthly bodies praise and glorify God, it is wonderful, but I believe that God takes special pleasure in the praises of those who are suffering. Not because of the pain, but because they love Him enough to praise and glorify Him even though they have pain.
You said not to tell you that pain and suffering come from Satan either. Well sorry but I can't do that. I do believe that 'some' pain and suffering come from Satan. Most of all I believe that the pain and suffering in this world come from the fall of mankind and the sin that has corrupted this world. God did not intend for us to live like this, but He knew it was going to happen.
I cannot tell you why God has not relieved your pain. I will tell you my view on prayer and requests of God in general, and here I am going to be straight forward with my views. Again I don't know your situation so I can't know whether what I say will upset you or not, but it is not meant to belittle you or upset you.
I believe that God does love us and wants to do good things for us. However, I believe His view of what is good for us is often different than ours. We look at this life as everything. We can't see past what happens to us here and now, but God knows and truly understands that this life is no more then a whiff of smoke, less than the size of one atom in relationship to the universe compared to all eternity. He wants us to know Him and to trust Him and to be ready to live with Him for eternity. I have no idea why He does the things He does, however, I believe He often does things or does not do things so that we will grow spiritually. If He jumped every time we asked for something, when would we ever start accepting His will and His plan for us?
Why would God allow His people to suffer persecution? Again I can't tell you, but I know He does. Look at the early believers, most of the disciples were martyred. Many of the Christians around the world are being persecuted and many of them are giving their lives for their faith. You know what? The church (meaning the Body of Christ) is stronger in those countries than it is in our country where we have the freedom to openly believe whatever we please. We can worship any time we want, most of us have two or more Bibles in our homes, yet we are soft and our faith is weak. I have to believe there is a relationship there. The people who are suffering under persecution are trusting God everyday. The people around them watching are seeing their faith and the peace in their lives and are coming to Christ in great numbers, just like the early church. Yet in America where we have the freedom, people don't want to be like us because as they say we are; "hypocrites, have more problems than the world at large (did you realize that the divorce rate is higher in the church than in the general population?), we act like we are suffering when people call us names, etc... we (as a group) often walk around as if the weight of the world was on our backs, we fight among ourselves, we don't help each other," and the list goes on and on. Where is our joy? Where is the comforting thought that soon this life will be over and we will live for eternity with the King of the Universe? We lose sight of out goal so easily.
Now I am not trying to say that I would handle the pain you are experiencing any better or that I would understand it any better or even that I would not lose my faith over it. I am saying that I trust God and I know that He is capable of giving me the strength and grace to handle it if it comes into my life. I pray it does not, but yet I believe He is sufficient to bring me through. Here is a tough part and please forgive me if this sounds uncompassionate; if you have prayed for God to take the pain away and He has not done so, maybe it is time to pray that He will give you the grace and strength to handle the continued pain and suffering and the power to praise Him even through the pain. Maybe God wants you to trust Him in a different way than just to relieve the pain. Paul prayed much the same prayer that you have been praying. He had what he describes as a thorn in the flesh and asked God to take it away. God's answer was: (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
My heart goes out to you and I will pray for you. I hope in some small way God will use my words to comfort you. I don't have the answers but He does. Trust Him, your faith is not in vain.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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