THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING
If there is any underlying reality behind all the stories that have ever been written, poems that were ever penned, and philosophies that were were ever contemplated, it would be to answer the question, why is there suffering in the world?
THE LAST ANSWER PEOPLE WILL ACCEPT
The last place that man looks for an answer to suffering is to himself, because we always think well of ourselves. Clearly, we are not all directly to blame for every bad things that happens to us, but suffering in the world is the consequence of sin, and since Adam all men hate God. To make sense of suffering we must understand our relationship with the creator God.
At the center of God’s word, the Bible, is the book of Psalms. At the center of man is his heart: the seat of his intellect, emotions, and will or decision making process. If you want to understand the heart of man, the reason for suffering, and that which places all men into just two categories, namely, the righteous and the unrighteous; read Psalms.
5 REACTIONS TO SUFFERING THAT REVEAL WHO WE ARE
Psalms can be divided into 5 books.
Book 1, THE GREAT DIVIDE: the RIGHTEOUS and the UNRIGHTEOUS.
Psalm 1:1 begins, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD…”
God declares that there is a way of the world, its philosophy of thought, which is corrupt, deceiving and self deceiving. The righteous man who is blessed by God does not go the way the world says we should go. He does not take his stand where the world does. Neither does he sit and judge things as wicked men do.
Love not the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
Book 2, THE RIGHTEOUS DESIRE GOD
Psalm 42:1 declares, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.”
Panting after God is not the sentiment of those who love this present world to idolatrous proportions.
Book 3, THE RIGHTEOUS GET CONFUSED BY SUFFERING – SOMETIMES
Psalm 73:1 announces, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart! 2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
In this present world things are not always as they seem. Sometimes the blessed suffer, and worldly minded men prosper. Jesus made it perfectly clearly that in this present world God treats all men with grace, including those that hate Him.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” Matthew 5:43-46
Book 4, Safety for the righteous is God Himself
Psalm 90:1 declares, “Lord you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
Just as the righteous man runs to God for safety, even so he seeks to glorify God. The Unrighteous live in foolishness, pride, and self adoration.
Book 5, THANKSGIVING EVEN IN SUFFERING
Psalm 107:1 admonishes, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His loving-kindness is everlasting.”
Only a man with his eyes upon eternity can find joy, peace, and contentment amidst his pain and suffering. The world is only temporary to the righteous.