Remembrance Sunday – Suffering
Is there any hope for the future?
When life seems too hard to face – When bad things happen to good people – When evil triumphs over good – When death still stings and the grave seems to have victory.
It’s difficult to believe in God when there is so much suffering and evil in our world!
We struggle with so many Questions, which we don’t have all the answers to. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and we don’t have all the pieces, BUT we do have some. Our world is riddled with so much pain and suffering. BUT it’s NOT always the way it was and it’s NOT the way it’s going to be. There was a period in our world where it was suffering free, there was a point in Genesis Chapter 1 and 2 where it tells us that there was a point in history where there was NO suffering.
BUT from Genesis Chapter 3 right up to the present day the world is covered in suffering. The Scripture does point us forward to a day when there will be a different kind of future, that there’s a day coming when God will come and He will take away this old world with all its struggling and pain. That there is a New World coming where it will be suffering free.
Question: How did suffering get into our world? Well, we’ve got to go back to Genesis Chapter 3 when God made us as humans, not robots. He made us as people, people in His likeness, people with minds, with wills and with a freedom to choose. The freedom to choose to love Him and stay close to Him, to obey His loving instructions that would guide our world and our lives. Or the freedom to rebel against Him and His right to rule over us. The freedom to choose to disobey Him and go off our own way. Adam and Eve took that freedom and chose to rebel against God and go their own way, ignoring and disobeying His clear instructions. In doing so they opened a door and they went down a path that was to have shattering effects on them, and was to leave a legacy of suffering and pain in our world ever since.
Someone has said: ‘It makes sense if you dump poison at the head of the river the whole river is going to be polluted.’
For Adam and Eve it wasn’t just their friendship with God that was shattered, BUT the whole planet was also shattered and everyone ever since has felt the effects of that one act of rebellion. They moved out from underneath God’s protective care and this world became fractured and has suffered ever since.
When we look at the suffering and pain in the world, we’ve got to say there is so much of it that humans are responsible for. BUT, what about the other suffering, no reason for suffering that’s so unfair?
When we Question and compare the bad people, who when we look at life they seem to have it so easy, who get off scot free and yet look at us: Ordinary families, our friends, look at what we’ve suffered, the pain that we’ve come through or are going through. And if we think like that, then you think, well why doesn’t God do something, stop this, why does it feel at times that God is so seemingly inactive?
In Psalm 37 David struggles with those same Questions – ‘Lord why don’t you deal with the evil and the wicked people? Look at these arrogant people enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure, and kept myself from doing wrong? All I get is trouble all day long, every morning brings pain.’
If we are really serious about allowing God to deal with the evil and the selfishness in our world, the best place to start is to give God permission to break into my heart, and deal with the sin that is within me. If we want to see the world change, then Christians have got to say, ‘Lord I need to be changed.’ ‘Change the world Lord, BUT begin with me!’