I recently read an article called If God Is with Me, Why Did This Happen? It was written by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. In the article she mentions the many things that have happened to her. Just to name a few, she was a polio survivor and constantly in and out of the hospital, her son died, and her husband left her. And as I write this I have just put her book on hold at the library that is mentioned at the end of the article.
I will discuss the parts of this article that stand out to me.
“If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).
Gideon asked the question thousands of years ago, and we have been asking it ever since. Haven’t we all asked that question secretly, if not out loud, at some point in suffering?
A lot of times the people in the bible are our heros, but they are just like us. They want to know why God is causing them hard times in their life, just like why we want to know why God causes us to go through hard times.
Why did this Happen?
I wondered why hard things happened when a loving God was supposedly in control. When people told me that God loved me, I thought, If God loves me, then why did this happen to me?
But when I was 16, God in his mercy answered that lifelong question through John 9. His answer was simple and direct: “that the works of God might be displayed” (John 9:3). And with that revelation, my world shifted.
Vaneetha had wondered her whole life why God allowed her to go through hardships, and at 16 God answer her question.
If we go through hardships with our eyes on God and not turning away from Him, the works of God will be displayed in our life for all to see. But if we complain, people will see that as well. If the works of God are displayed for all to see, doesn’t/shouldn’t that change our view on how we walk through life/trials?
One Little Word
I took comfort in the truth that God was with me and could use my suffering to demonstrate his glory, but when new struggles surfaced, sometimes I would return to that familiar question: If the Lord is with me, then why did all this happen?
Those questions must have delighted Satan. Satan turns truth into doubt with that little word: if. Satan’s temptation of Jesus began with the words “If you are the Son of God” (Matthew 4:3).
God is always with us, but when new difficulties come up we can sometimes forget that, and start using that word of “if”. By why do we use that word?
The Lord IS With You
Satan tempts us in the same way. When our prayers seemingly go unanswered, Satan wants us to mistrust God and question his promises. Satan wants us to doubt God’s goodness and demand proof of his love, inciting us to ask, “If God loves me, then why am I suffering?” Or as Gideon asked, “If the Lord is with us, then why has this happened?”
If the Lord is with us? If God loves me? Those statements should never have an “if” before them. God’s presence and love are guaranteed to those in Christ. When Satan tempts us to question God’s character, we must stand firmly on the truth of Scripture.
In Christ we know that God is always with us. Jesus says, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He will never fail us or forsake us.
We use the word “if” because Satan is trying to get us to doubt that God is always with us. There are so many references in Scripture that says that God will never leave us, so even though Satan tries to get us to doubt God, if we know scripture there will be no need to doubt God.
Recieving Trials With Faith
With this new perspective, believing by faith that my trials are given out of love, I can deliberately look for the good that God is bringing from my suffering.
Sometimes the good is hard to see. And the little I do see can feel insignificant in comparison to the pain I’m enduring. It is then that I must remind myself that my afflictions are producing “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And God has a purpose in each of them.
While we may not learn the specific purpose behind each struggle, we do know that God uses suffering to increase our dependence on him. To deepen our faith and draw us closer to him. To refine our character, to prepare us for ministry, to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received.
The good can be extremely hard to see. And sometimes we may never find the specific reason why God causes us pain, but we just have to continue to trust Him.
God Doesn’t Love Suffering
God doesn’t love your suffering. He loves you. He will walk with you through the darkest valleys and will never ever leave you.
When God brings trials into your life, don’t question his love or turn away. God is doing something breathtaking in you, for you, and through you. Because the Lord is with you, and because the Lord loves you, everything that happens to you is filled with divine purpose. Every trial you endure has passed through God’s loving hands.
Just keep trusting God through it all!