“In the valley of the shadow of death…”May 3, 2013 - Author: Bernadette Saddik
“…I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” – from Psalm 23:4 KJV
Why do bad things happen in the first place? Why must we all at some point in our lives trek through this valley?
It’s a complicated question, one to which I don’t know the answer too. But, I’ve thought about it quite a bit in the past few months. Here are some thoughts. As always, feel free to comment.
First, let me be clear: God does not want us to suffer.
We must remember that the earth is under the reign of the evil one. You can read about how that happened in Genesis 3. The very ground is cursed; the world as it exists today is imperfect.
But, there is hope, for God, “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13 KJV).
That change of address, so to speak, will occur when we shed the bodies of the “the god of this world [Satan, who] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV).
In the meantime, we live, striving to live like Christ. And we make mistakes steered by the brokenness of human nature.
Paul writes of the struggle we experience between right and wrong, and of God’s mercy. “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25 NIV.
Christ has delivered us from death, from this chaotic world which humanity handed over to Satan! But what does that have to do with why bad things happen?
Because there are rules to the heavenly conflict between God and Satan, even though God has already won. Evil is a near infinite power, which means he still packs a punch. And because God doesn’t play dirty He follows those rules.
Remember Job? Satan challenges His authority, and Job was a part of this heavenly conflict which we cannot begin to understand. Yet, God blessed Him several fold over. He affirmed His power and wonderful plans for His flock.
That does not mean God is incapable of stopping bad things!
Rather, He takes us through journeys that end of being better for us. He takes what is inevitable and maximizes its good for us and harm against evil. Job learned a lot about God in the process, bringing him closer to the Heavenly Father.
Christ gave us an example of how we should face suffering. He cried out in prayer when He was weighed down by His burden. “‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’…Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will'” (Matthew 26:38-39 NIV).
“But as You will.” Powerful words. God is a benevolent God. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
So, whatever suffering we face now, believe, have faith, that it is insignificant compared to the glory He is bringing us to one step at a time.
“…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” from Matthew 28:20 KJV