God’s Role In Our Suffering

We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.
–Ephesians 1:11

Yesterday we looked at three possible explanations for evil in the world: either God cannot stop evil, God is evil Himself, or there simply is no God. But there is a fourth explanation for God’s role in suffering, and that is that God is responsible for everything in His universe, including suffering. Such a truth is not only grounded in Scripture; it is the only explanation that will give people comfort when they are in the midst of suffering and heartache.

A. W. Tozer began his classic book “The Knowledge of the Holy” with these words: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” What comes to your mind when you think about God? Unfortunately, many people have replaced the God of Scripture with the god of their imagination. They have discarded all of the “distasteful” attributes of God and kept only the things they approve of. They have created God like they want Him to be. Dorothy Sayers once wrote, “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” We try to tame God. We try to make Him someone we can understand, who acts like we think He ought to act, but He refuses to do that. We are going to see what the true nature of God is and His relationship to human suffering.

What does the Bible say about God’s role in suffering? First of all, God is in control of all His creation. The psalmist declared in Psalm 103:19, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” For a king to be sovereign means he has control of everything in his kingdom. It is impossible for a king to be semi-sovereign–either he is in control or he is not. If you believe what the Word of God says, you have to believe that God is in control of all the angels in heaven, all the demons on the earth and under the earth, all human beings whom He has created, and all natural phenomena. God is in control of all His creation, and He has a plan for all His creation, including you and me. Look at Ephesians 1:11: “We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” Notice that the word “will” here is singular. Nowhere does the Bible teach that God has a Plan A and a Plan B and a Plan C and a Plan D. God has one plan that governs everything that happens in the universe. He is going to fulfill His plan in this world, and he is going to fulfill His plan in your life as well.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Is God Ultimately Responsible For Suffering?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

A. W. Tozer, “The Knowledge Of The Holy” (1961; repr., New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 1; Dorothy L. Sayers, “Letters To A Diminished Church” (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2004), 4.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.


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