Cindy Bergenback • 2016/04/04

God was there, and He was greatly grieved over what happened. Psalm 94 assures us that God indeed does see all forms of abuse and oppression and that He is a God of vengeance and justice. He is also our help, our stronghold, and our refuge.  Rather than focus on what God didn’t do in his life (that is, stop the abuse in our life), the psalmist focuses on his relationship with God, confident that God will one day mete out perfect justice.

It may also help to remember that God made human beings with the responsibility to choose — even to choose to disobey Him.  God does not now change that freedom and prevent people from choosing to do evil.  Besides, to take away our choice would be to remove the possibility of us choosing to trust God.

In light of the pain we experience at the hands of others, our confidence and hope lies in the truth that God is able to bring healing and that He even uses the pain to build strength of character — a Christlike character — in us.  We cannot guarantee that you will escape evil in this sick and fallen world (see John 16:33), but we can reassure you that you don’t have to be a perpetual victim of your past.  In Christ, God has provided us with a way to overcome our past, and we have to assume our responsibility to choose that path of freedom.

One more important word about suffering comes from Job, a book which teaches us how to deal with the loss and pain that comes our way in this world.  As his suffering progresses, Job never gives up on his relationship with God.  He argues, he expresses his deep disappointments, and he even asks God for a trial and the opportunity to plead his case about God’s apparent injustice (see Job 9,10).  Through all his trials, Job never gives up on God: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15, KJV).  The key is to be honest about your deep disappointments with God and allow Him to speak to you (see Job 38-41).

Don’t suffer in denial.  Let God know about your anger and disappointment with Him.  Then you will be able to see God and yourself clearly enough to follow Job’s example and repent of your wrong expectations of God (see Job 42:1-6).  Keep in mind, too, that Job’s latter state was more blessed than his former state.  God never told Job why he was suffering, but God used suffering to increase Job’s trust in Him and to bless Job.  Romans 8:18-39 assures us that God’s plan for our glory includes suffering, but this suffering can never separate us from His love for us as demonstrated in Christ Jesus’ death on the cross.

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