“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” I John 4:9
If God is love, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do little children die? Why do relationships fail? Why does disease reap such a bitter harvest in the lives of millions of people? In an attempt to explain this philosophical mystery, modern man has opted for a school of thought that suggests that God wants to relieve man’s stress and misery, but sometimes, he’s just not able. To every Bible believer, such a conclusion is unacceptable. Scripture teaches categorically that God possess is sovereign. He rules the world with absolute authority over its limitations and circumstances. He is omnipotent and all wise. Nothing is too hard for him and nothing ever takes him by surprise or leaves him baffled about the best means to his end. Nothing that man does can handcuff his providence.
If God is omnipotent, then, why do people suffer? If he could do something about human misery, then why doesn’t he? The enemy of our souls knows how to use this haunting question to capitalize on our weakness, tempting the sufferer to hard thoughts about God. Though most believers would not dare to assert that God is unloving or unkind, the temptation is very strong to entertain the idea when the pressures of life are relentless. In more than one burdened heart, the pastor’s declaration that “God is love” is silenced by the adversary’s shout, “Then why doesn’t he do something to relieve your pain?”. Satan loves to suggest that you wouldn’t have the financial pressures, relational difficulties, physical ailments, emotional struggles, or life disappointments if God really loved you.
Victory over his diabolical and brazen insinuations may be realized, however, when you remember two great facts: (1) Suffering is inevitable in everyone’s life, because of the presence of sin in the world. The Lord has never promised anyone a pain-free existence in this life. Perfect health, uninhibited joy, and total freedom from stress is a promise reserved for the next world, not this one; (2) The ultimate proof that “God is love” is not always visible when one looks at the circumstances of life, but it shines with unimpaired brilliance when one looks by faith at the cross of Christ. It is the cross, not present circumstances, that testifies “God is love.” Seeing he has given you and me this greatest of gifts for all eternity, we can afford to bear the temporary inconveniences of affliction. After all, “just one glimpse of him in glory, will all the toils of life repay.” So, the next time Satan tempts you to doubt God’s love because your way is hard, remind him of the cross. It will strike him dumb.
– Michael L. Gowens