I dedicate this to my sister Wendy, who recently went home to be with the Lord, in December of 2006. Wendy had metastatic breast cancer that spread to her liver and her spine, and eventually her brain. She suffered so much pain yet through it all she trusted in the Lord. Though she did not understand all God’s plan for her, yet she trusted in Him, and surrendered all to Him. That surrender grew deeper until the end. During this time my agnostic brother said to Wendy, “Would you ask God why He allows my baby sister to suffer so much?” He recently presented this question again on a family get together, and feels there is no answer and stated, “I won’t hold my breath waiting for the answer”. I’m writing this now in response to his question and to all out there who have that same question and struggle with it. The answer actually is very simple, yet the hearts of men are not able to accept it. They strive to find their own answer that agrees with their own thinking and desires and they won’t accept God’s. Yet God has given us the answer in His Word.
I hope someday my brother, Larry, will read this, when he is ready to accept God’s answer, as He tells us in His Word. Here is the reason for suffering in the world—for the suffering of God’s children, and the Son of God Himself—it is all of you who are sinners and do not believe in Him. You are the reason for the suffering of the Son of God and for the suffering of all who are His children and share in His sufferings, and the reason the world continues to suffer more and more evil. It is a difficult thing to hear, but it is the truth.
God’s mercy brought Wendy home to Him, and delivered her from her suffering—His mercy is what allows the suffering in this world as His justice is held off until sin reaches its full measure and all is judged, and until all who will, come to receive His salvation. He is a perfect God. He is perfect in justice—perfect! The reason we ourselves have a sense that justice must be paid, is because the God of justice put that sense into our consciences. He is also perfect in mercy. His justice cannot excuse sin. If He excused one sin, He would be unjust. But He is perfect in justice, which makes Him God. He would fail to live up to all His own perfection if He stooped to our level of injustice. His justice had to be satisfied. Because He is also perfect in mercy, He satisfied His justice Himself, by coming in the flesh as man—the Son of man, yet God—and taking on Himself our sin and it’s penalty at the cross. That sacrifice alone satisfies the penalty for sin and only faith in Him will bring us in right standing with God. All man’s own efforts to find righteousness are nothing but filthy rags in God’s eyes, as He has proved to us His own holiness and that we are incapable of living up to it. There is no justice accept the justice Christ gave on our behalf. Faith—that complete reliance on all He is and what He did for us—is the only salvation. For scripture references for this please read the book of Romans, especially Romans 5 and Romans 8. If there were other roads to heaven, you can be sure Jesus would not have come here to suffer and die and take on our sins, which were repulsive to Him.
So in His mercy, Jesus allows sin and evil in this world—the source of evil coming from man’s sin and rebellion against Him and His laws. As Christians, our souls are redeemed but we have not yet received our final redemption as we still dwell in an unredeemed world in an unredeemed body. But Jesus promises us one day that…
1Cor. 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
1Cor. 15:50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
1Cor. 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Cor. 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1Cor. 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1Cor. 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
1Cor. 15:55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
1Cor. 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is our final redemption! For now we dwell in this body of death and are subject to all the diseases and sicknesses the rest of the world is. But one day our body will be redeemed finally and there will be no more suffering or death. Wendy was delivered from her body of sickness and suffering through death—the shedding of that body. Yet she is now with the Lord in His presence, just as Jesus told the thief on the cross… “today you will be with me in paradise.” The end of the body is not the end for the Christian, it is deliverance.
2Cor. 5:4 For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.Why does God wait? Why doesn’t He end suffering now? It is for you that do not believe in Him, who scoff at Him, and who disregard His law and His Word, and reject His claims and His way of righteousness that suffering goes on. It is His mercy for you as He waits for many more to come to find His grace and be saved. It is because of His longsuffering that His children are also asked to be patient and longsuffering as they wait for His coming, when the earth will be judged and evil will finally be once and for all done away with. Oh yes… God will judge evil. Many scoff at Him now going so far as to say, “if there is a God, let Him strike me dead now.” Well… be thankful that He is longsuffering and doesn’t… yet you can be sure your day of judgment will come as it will for the whole earth, if you do not find His salvation for yourself.
2Cor. 5:5 Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
2Cor. 5:6 Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord
2Cor. 5:7 (for we walk by faith, not by sight);
2Cor. 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
2Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.
2Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
2Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
2Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
Those who do not believe in His righteousness and justification through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8,9), and Who He is, must suffer their own choice and the consequences of sin to the full. If He were to end evil now, it would mean wiping out you, Larry, and all you who reject Him—all mankind who fail to recognize Him and accept Who He is and His salvation. He allows man to have full choice in the matter. He gives them what they want. Ultimately, He promises He will end evil and suffering (Rev. 21).
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
As it says in Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
What is Wendy’s suffering compared to an eternity in His glory, sharing all He is and has for us forever? His ultimate judgment of evil means all who reject Him and His salvation, going by choice, their own way, being their own gods, or making their own gods according to their liking, will finally get what they want—final and complete separation from God—from all He created—which means all good things you see and enjoy in this earth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it. The rain falls on the just and unjust. The sun shines on the just and unjust. Those who don’t believe in Him, for a time still enjoy His creation and His goodness, although misusing and abusing it for their own lust and greed, disregarding His laws. It means they will have no source of supply to any of their needs—none will be fulfilled. Man—thinking he can be sufficient in himself, thinks he satisfies and provides for himself, yet all things he enjoys have come from God. The needs of his soul for happiness, well-being—the need to fulfill hunger, and all other needs, all come from God Himself. All light comes from God, and they will be removed from all light and its source into complete and utter darkness. They will be removed from all of that for all eternity. It is what they chose, though God held out His way of life to them. The Bible clearly tells it and warns us and offers His life. People take His Word and twist and misuse it to satisfy their own desire for godhood just as the serpent did in the garden of Eden with Eve rather than accepting His righteousness and life. They could no longer enjoy the perfect presence of God and the garden He created for them any longer. Just so... those who reject God’s salvation will no be able to enjoy Him, or anything He created any longer once all is judged.
Because He is perfect justice and righteousness, He will not allow anything evil into His heaven with those He loves. It would corrupt it, just as the earth has been corrupted and brought unbearable suffering upon it. Until man sees that in his rebellion from God, he is part of the evil and chooses to take the side of God, he will not understand the answer to this question. As long as he thinks he is good in himself and has no need for God, he will not understand. So the question is really—which side will you choose? Your way, or God’s? Which side will you be on? Will you be a part of the evil that is finally destroyed--the part that is the cause of the suffering in the world—or the part that brings its redemption?
I have been suffering greatly for the last few weeks with severe pain in the pelvic area. I don’t know yet what is wrong--possibly a nerve problem. I have very strange symptoms, like electricity jolting through my body, and piercing pain. I have strange sensations in my head and headaches. I’m going to a specialist next week and hope for some answers. It may be something disabling for the rest of my life--I don’t know. I hope not. I give God praise that His longsuffering allows this and I pray, with Him, as I share in His suffering in this world because of its sin, as I wait for His redemption, that He will be glorified in me. I only hope His love will be portrayed through me. His love that endured and took on the suffering of man in the body of a man—and even though He was perfect and without sin, suffered in the flesh, and took our sins and its curse upon Himself, so one day my body of sin and sickness and death will be redeemed, just as my soul has been redeemed even now. My soul enjoys His salvation, and one day my body will also. I praise Him now in my body, and I pray that in this body His glory will be seen in me while I have opportunity to give Him that glory. I choose to be a part of His life and glory!!! While I wait, He gives me grace to endure, and His very own presence indwelling me, comforting my heart, and strengthening me. This is His promise to all who love Him. No evil will harm them. Even here in this world full of evil, we are more than conquerors through Christ, and nothing shall separate us from His love. We have all we need to walk through this world safe in Him until our final redemption! Hallelujah!
My prayer for my brother, and for all, is that you will pick up the Bible and forget all the arguments, and just read it with the motive of truly learning what is being said. To all who seek Him in truth, He will make it plain. Those who pick it up to misuse and twist into their own meaning will miss it.
(1) Of David. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
(2) For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
(3) Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
(4) Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(5) Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
(6) He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
(7) Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
(8) Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
(9) For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
(10) In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
(11) But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
(12) The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,
(13) but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.
(14) The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright;
(15) their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
(16) Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.
(17) For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
(18) The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;
(19) they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. (20) But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish--like smoke they vanish away.
(21) The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;
(22) for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
(23) The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;
(24) though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.
(25) I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
(26) He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
(27) Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.
(28) For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
(29) The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
(30) The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
(31) The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
(32) The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.
(33) The LORD will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
(34) Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
(35) I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
(36) But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.
(37) Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.
(38) But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
(39) The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
(40) The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasres up his bright desines
And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain:
God is his own inerpreter,
And He will make it plain.
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