Thoughts to Ponder

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Philippians 1:24

Why does God allow Christians to suffer?

There are times when I long to go to be with Christ. I think about being in heaven with Him. Praising Him and feeling His love for me constantly. This is something that non-Christians can't understand. A Christian on the other hand can imagine what it must be like to be in a place where there is no more pain, no more stress, no more worries.

I want to explore some of the reasons I happily live my life here on earth for Christ. I think most Christians would agree with my first reason. That is that I can be salt and light in a dying world. Maybe my living here on earth will help someone else to come to a personal knowledge and relationship with Christ, that one soul would make all the suffering I go through worth while. I have family and friends whom I hope I can reach before it is too late. It is difficult to reach them while I live with them here on earth, but if I were gone I would have no chance at all to reach them.

My other reasons for wanting to stay in this world might raise a few eyebrows, but I think they are just as important. Now you might be thinking he is going to say because he loves things of this world and that is wrong. Well you are right that would be wrong, but that is not my reason.

When I leave this world, whether it is by death or by being raptured out of the world to be with Christ, it will mark an end to a lot of things. At that instant I will cease to worry, to suffer, to have stress, and a hundred other things that we go through on a daily basis. So what is the down side you say? Well on the one hand there is no down side but lately I have come to realize that in a very real sense there is something that I will no longer be able to do. Something that the angels have never been able to do, something that makes the tragedy of abortion even more hideous.

I have always known that abortion was wrong no matter what the reason given for it, but I usually thought of it as being wrong just because it was the killing of an innocent life. I always felt that at least the babies went to be with Christ, so other than not ever experiencing the "good" things of this life they were in all was well. But because they were aborted they never got to experience what I am talking about either and I now see what a tragedy that is for them.

I am talking about worshiping God through the daily stresses of this world. I don't believe for a minute that God wants us to suffer. I believe all of our suffering is a direct result of Adam and Eve's sin. I do, however, believe that our suffering gives us an opportunity to serve God that we will never have again after all suffering is gone. That is why I say that angels have never experienced this, nor have aborted infants.

Now think about the praise and worship God gets. He gets constant worship from the angels and I believe from those souls who were believers when they died and are awaiting the resurrection. But how sweet the worship must be that He gets from those of us here on earth when we have to make time to do it. When we have a headache, or are worried about paying our bills, or grieving over the loss of a loved one. An angel never has a headache, or a sore back, or is worried about keeping a job, or worried over a sick child.

I praise God that someday we will all know what it is like to be able to praise God and never have any suffering or worries, but I also praise Him because today through these trials and stresses and sufferings I can feel His love for me. I can praise a God who was willing to come down to earth and experience headaches, worries and stresses and even face death for me!

Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy suffering and I pray fervently that God will keep me and my family from suffering. I don't believe God wants us to beat ourselves on the back or cut ourselves like the pagans do so that we can suffer for Him. I do believe, however, that when we go through suffering and we take time to pray and worship and praise God, that it is much sweeter to Him than when we praise Him in the good times.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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