Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
In our readings for this week, did you notice some parallels between Joseph and Jesus? One clear parallel is that they both experienced undeserved suffering. Many of us struggle with the idea of suffering. How can a good, all powerful God allow the innocent to suffer? A big part of the answer is that besides being all powerful and perfectly good, God is all-wise.
What is wisdom?
“Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.” J I Packer in Knowing God
How would an awareness of God’s wisdom help us understand the undeserved suffering of Jesus (accused of being in league with the devil, charged with blasphemy, sentenced to an agonizing death by crucifixion) and Joseph (kidnapped, sold into slavery, and imprisoned on false charges of rape)?
God had plans which no observer could have anticipated in the midst of the sufferings of Jesus and Joseph. In the end, Joseph’s suffering resulted in saving his own family from starvation so that the line leading to Jesus was preserved (Genesis 45:4-8). Instead of taking revenge on his brothers, Joseph forgave them and promised to provide for all their needs (Genesis 50:15-21). What a display of mercy and grace!
What about Jesus? His death on the cross undergirds the gospel of the forgiveness of sins for all who believe in Him (Acts 2:36-38). What Joseph did for his brothers on a small scale, Jesus did for His followers on a cosmic scale. Have you experienced undeserved suffering? Few can say “no.” Can we not trust God and praise Him that our undeserved suffering leads us on His wise path to the good end He has planned for us? Yes, by faith we can!
For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ESV
This fourth week of 2021 brings us to the book of Exodus continuing the story of Jacob’s descendants in Egypt. Four hundred years have passed since the end of the book of Genesis and the death of Joseph. The people have multiplied so much that the new Pharaoh feels threatened. He forces them into slavery and orders the death of all their male infants. Does God know? Will He act on their behalf? Read the story and be amazed.
In the New Testament, the twelve disciples listened to Jesus’ teaching about humility, forgiveness, and tender heartedness but struggled to apply it to themselves and to new situations. They forgot what they had learned. If you find yourself saying, “I should have known that!” Jesus’ patience with His class of slow learners will encourage you.
Tip. Does late night TV keep you from an early appointment with God? Consider this. If you would not get up early to watch it, why stay up late to watch it? 😊
Week of January 22-28, 2021
January 22/Day 22 We Groan, But Does God Know? (Exodus 1-3; Matthew 15:21-39) Audio here. January 23/ Day 23 How Long, O Lord? (Exodus 4-6; Matthew 16) Audio here. January 24 / Day 24 Heart Responses to God (Exodus7-8; Matthew 17) Audio here. January 25/ Day 25 Who’s the Greatest (Exodus 9-10; Matthew 18:1-20) Audio here. January 26/ Day 26 Forgiveness: Pay it Forward (Exodus 11-12; Matthew 18:21-35) Audio here. January 27 / Day 27 How to Know You’ve Learned (Exodus 13-15; Matthew 19:1-15) Audio here. January 28/ Day 28 Leave All; Plod On (Exodus 16-18; Matthew 19:16-30) Audio here. If you do not have a copy of my book you may want to order one here. However, you may also access the daily audio recordings generously provided by my friend and pastor Charlie Evans above.
This week may you enjoy God’s Word and see His wisdom in your suffering!