Why did God allow my parents to get divorced?
Why did I get accused of something that I didn't do?
Why does life hurt so much?
Why did my best friend betray me?
Why did he use me that way?
There are so many questions that we could ask God "why?" in this world. I think the biggest question that could sum them all up would be "why does God allow suffering?"
This past Wednesday night my youth pastor spoke about this very question. He pointed out that one piece of fiction that many people believe is that "if God loves me, then He will always bless me." God's number one priority in this life is not our happiness or pleasure. His number one priority is that we become more like Christ and maintain and meaningful relationship with Him. A great example of pain in the Bible is Job. Job was a follower of Christ and he was blessed with many earthly treasures. Job 1 talks about how Satan came to God and told Him that if anything bad happened to Job, that Job would certainly curse God. Well, God told the devil to go ahead and test Job's character. The first point is just because you are a Christ follower doesn't mean that things will go your way. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." This is such an important verse for us to live by! We must guard our hearts and our actions because the devil wants to devour us. My youth pastor used the illustration of a gazelle hiding from a lion. The gazelle sees the lion coming and just tries to hide, even though its antlers are still visible over its hiding place! Once the lion starts running closer to it, the gazelle begins to run and trips and injures itself. The lion did this deliberately. He waited for the gazelle to get injured so that he could have a tasty dinner. that is exactly what the devil does to us. He waits for us to be in our weakest moment: when our boyfriend breaks up with us, when we get a bad grade, or when we don't make the cheer leading squad. Then he begins to taunt us, telling us that we are not good enough and that we should curse God--he tries to make us believe that God has left us all alone; when, in all reality, God has never left our side--we have simply taken our focus off of Him. Nothing can happen to us unless God allows it to happen. This is what happened in Job's case. God allowed him to be tested. God wanted to see if Job would be more like Christ through his pain. A question that we must ask ourselves is "am I following God because I love the things He gives me or because I fear Him?" A great worship song goes something like this: "He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name." Wow. When God takes away will I really choose to sing praises to Him? That is pretty tough! Job experienced insurmountable pain and loss yet he never stopped praising God. That amazes me! God's ultimate purpose is for us to be like Christ. God isn't out to get us or to make our lives miserable. The price of following Jesus is high. We have not chosen an easy road, but we must remember that we signed up for it! God just wants to help us to be the best that we can be. We can make it through anything if we keep our eyes firmly focused on Him. Stay tuned for part two coming up soon.
Is God worth following when nothing is going your way?