We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
I bet there is something that has caused you to ask, “Is God really in control of the world? Is He really in control of my world? Why does He let His children suffer?” The Bible does not give us any easy answers to the question of suffering. But the Bible does give us some insights that might help, especially if you are going through a tough time in your life right now.
The Bible tells us, first of all, some suffering is simply the result of living in a fallen world. We live in a world that has been permeated by sin. Sin has infected every part of God’s creation. And that is why everything from our cars to our relationships breaks down. In Romans 8:22-23, Paul said, “The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. . . . Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” The whole world is waiting for that day when Jesus Christ will redeem His creation.
Second, some suffering is the result of our own disobedience. Imagine you have an automobile that is still under warranty. One day, your engine stops, and a tow truck takes your car to the dealership. The mechanic lifts up the hood and announces the problem: there is no oil in the car. You say, “You are supposed to keep oil in there?”
The mechanic replies, “Haven’t you read the owner’s manual?”
You respond, “Oh, I have not had time to read the owner’s manual.” Is the dealership going to say, “Of course, we understand how busy you are–here, let us give you a new car”? No, they are going to hold you responsible. You have to operate your car according to the manual if your car is going to be protected.
The Bible is like God’s owner’s manual to us. It gives us instructions for how to conduct our lives–everything from our marriages to our finances to our relationship with God. Now, we can say, “I do not have time to read the Bible,” or, “I am not sure I believe all of the Bible.” Does that mean we are exempt from the consequences? Not at all. God has instituted some universal laws, and we disobey them to our detriment. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” Paul was referring to eternal separation from God, but the consequences of sin also include the death of everything important to us: the death of our relationships, the death of our peace of mind, the death of fulfillment in life. Some of the suffering we experience is self-inflicted.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Suffering?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
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.