Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 2)

Last week I introduced you to the concept of your suffering not only being permitted by God but even promoted to an end that is beyond our normal understanding. Make note that I am not saying that God is causing your suffering, in fact if it were not for His grace and mercy that hold back the tsunami of evil,  an unlimited flood of affliction and suffering would come at you with full assault and devastating fury. No, a thousand times no, God is not the orchestrator of evil and wickedness in the world but He does use it for His purposes and can pinpoint its application by just withdrawing His protective hand. What results we experience is but a small taste of what would happen were it not for Him.

So get this straight. God is not evil, and does not tempt anyone. God is Sovereign and as such all the activity that happens in the world is allowed by Him but not necessarily caused by Him. We are really good at bringing on our own pain and suffering. It was Adam, our great grandfather (about three hundred generations ago) that unleashed sin into the world. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Rom. 5:12. And we have been busy about perfecting all the nuances of it since then. If you want to blame someone for sin in the world go to the nearest mirror and you will find one of its chief proponents. Don’t get that, “Who me?” innocent look, “Yes you.” Apart from the saving grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living and abiding in you and yielded to by you, you are in the business of profuse sinning.

I said all this to prevent us from heading down the trail of what a “Good God” would and wouldn’t do. Lets just say, “Let him who is without sin, throw the first stone.” You are not “good” but He is, so don’t even go there trying to judge God. By the way, it is the prerogative of God to do whatever He wants to do, whether we like it or not. I am thankful that He is a Good God. Consider the alternative. That settled, God can do whatever He wants and He chooses to use suffering for His purposes. What purposes?, you might ask.

To name a few:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. 1:26

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.” Gal. 1:15.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom. 8:29.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Philip. 2:10.

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Heb. 2:10.

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Eph. 3:10.

God made man (you and me) to show “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” “by the church (those called out ones)”, “the manifold wisdom of God.”

You see, certain angels were not at all excited about God’s plan: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.” In fact they got more than a little miffed about the whole thing and set out in a rebellious rage led by one notorious Lucifer. This act of rebellion was in essence a challenge as to God’s suitability to lead heaven and earth based upon His choice of man to be His sons, the recipients of His Love and co-heirs with Himself.

Now of course God could have just unleashed a bolt of divine correction, frying the whole lot of them bringing about the “end of discussion” but what fun is that? Instead, because of the Good God we know and serve, He has set up a stage on earth to play out in realTime the unveiling of His wisdom.

So how does one go about being like his or her heavenly Father in cases where your integrity and righteousness are in question. You let it play out in Time. You do not have to prove anything. Wisdom is proved right by her children. In other words, right choices yield right results. Time will tell. It always does… eventually.

All the world is a stage, and you and I may very well be put on display if we, in fact, are the true sons of God. Thats what happened to Job, unbeknownst to himself. Job had an opportunity to show his quality through the things he suffered.

“For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” 1 Cor. 4:11.

More next week.