After decades in ministry, I have to admit that it’s often hard to understand why God allows people to suffer.
And I think most of us would admit that it’s especially hard when the sufferer is someone who is kind, loving, caring . . . good. Or when that person is an innocent child.
Somehow we want to believe that suffering is deserved because if that’s true . . . then maybe we can avoid it personally.
In today’s verses, Jesus dispelled the idea that all suffering was the result of God’s judgment unleashed on those who are especially sinful.
“Do you think this happened to them because they were more sinful than all others from Galilee?”Luke 13:2 (NCV)
Jesus quickly said, “No, not at all.”
Then He addresses the more important point…
“You will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.”Luke 13:3
And it’s so important, He said it again…
“I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”Luke 13:5
Why does God allow suffering?
Because we live in a world permeated by sin. And living in a sinful world includes suffering.
So, the question is not why people suffer but what God has done about it and how He can work in and through it in our lives.
We can take sin seriously and make it personal. We don’t ask why God allowed it but ask Him to show us how He might use it our lives and the lives of those around us.
Jesus calls each of us to take our suffering to Him, to let Him help us through it, and then to use our stories to help others by inviting them to find His grace and mercy through the “narrow door.”
Later in Luke 13, it says…
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”Luke 13:23–24
He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.”
When Jesus said to “work hard” He wasn’t talking about working to earn God’s favor, we can’t. But by God’s grace, we can admit our sin and our need for God’s mercy and grace, we can ask Him to forgive us, and help us trust Jesus to save us.
Why does God allow allow people to suffer?
Because He knows suffering is the result of sin and He wants all people to trust His love and grace, a gift that will save them eternally.
A Prayer to Have Strength
Whatever God Allows
Father, I hate the suffering part of life. It does help to know that You hate it, too! It was never Your intention for us to struggle with the consequences of sin and evil in this world. You wanted and created a beautiful perfect world where we would live with joy in Your presence. And even though we fail You, You love us so much that You sent Jesus to save us and make it possible for us to one day experience the joy of that perfect world with You.
Please forgive me. I don’t want to give in to sin. I want to trust Your will and obey You faithfully. I need Jesus. I believe that He is the Way through the “Narrow Door.” I trust He is Truth and Life (John 14:6) I believe that I can only come to You through Jesus by the power of Your Holy Spirit. (John 6:44)
I ask that You will guard my heart and soul, and give me strength to endure when I am hurt by sin . . . my own or someone else’s. Please help me to focus on You, to live with the hope of Your promises, and trust and obey Your will to show You my love. I pray all of this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
The Good News is that Jesus is the Way through the narrow door. Based on all of His other teachings . . . “working hard” comes through our sincere desire to KNOW Him and heartfelt desire to trust and obey Him.
The blessing is that when we do, we have the promise that God will give us everything we need . . . even when He allows us to suffer.
On today’s note write:
With His help, I will trust God to help me live through whatever He allows.
May He bless you as you trust God to help you endure whatever He allows.
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