Sufferings of This World
by Dr. Bill Gillham
You are looking at this only from a human point of view and not from God’s (Mark 8:33 TLB)
I cringe when I hear someone say, God took my son, or God brought this deformed child into my life, or God caused this tragic accident. This is looking at things from the human point of view. Nowhere in Scripture does God promise to extract us from the sufferings of this world. And yet so many times it’s Him we blame, it’s Him we shake our fists at, and yet if we would examine the label on our hurt it would read: Made in the World!
We live in an alien world, in a fallen world with people who are lost, who have rejected God’s love and grace, who are under the control of the Deceiver and his devoted followers. Since we are in enemy territory, then we are subject to the enemy’s attacks. We are fair game. Christians must go through many of the same tragedies, heartaches, and frustrations that non-Christians do. We aren’t hiding behind a barricade. We’re not in an impenetrable fortress! We’re in an intense battle.
Jesus Himself said: I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration but be of good cheer [take courage be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you] John 16:33 AMP).
He promises us that we will experience difficult times in this fallen world. He also promises us that we will not be destroyed because of these difficult times. He says, “I have overcome the world and I have robbed it of power to harm; I have conquered it for you.” He isn’t talking about our physical well being. He is talking about that unshakeable identity, that never-failing love, His Spirit that refuses to be bound and defeated. Nothing can wrench that from our clutches!
He does not assure us that we will come through unscathed and unscarred, or even alive! The plus is that He is our strength. The plus is that we are never alone! It may seem like we are alone, but that is never, never, ever true! Jesus prayed, I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one (John 17:15). God did not keep Jesus from the sufferings of this hostile world. God did not take Him out of the world, but He did keep Him safe from the evil one. He triumphed over the evil one! He faced the evil of His day and overcame.
Jesus faced each day in the strength of who He was and who God was. Because Jesus lives in me, I can do the same. Because He lives in you, you can do the same. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow…” Do we listen to what we’re saying as we sing these words?
Originally published in 1994.