Asked by Male, 46-60, Africa on November 24, 2021 1:51:22 am
Dear in Christ. When a person out of his/her suffering or loss of thei - Bible Questions and Answers - Prayer Tents
Question23. Dear in Christ. When a person out of his/her suffering or loss of their loved one ask the question "Where is God?" How do I (we) respond with Bible reference effectively.? Thank you.
Asked by: Male, Asia, New Christian, 36-45 on June 2, 2021 8:46:19 am
Thank you for such an excellent question. Unfortunately, the answer is not clear-cut. Especially with the pandemic and its current effects in India, I am disheartened, and I hope to encourage you to keep your trust in God. Before I go into your specific question, let me share what I tend to see in the book of Psalms.
There are several stories where King David went through many sufferings. Two big ones are when the king (Saul) chased him with all his soldiers to kill him. David was estranged from the community and could not trust anyone for many years. He had to mingle among people who hate him as a madman. Then even when David became a king, his son sought to kill him to take over the throne. In these times, David's experiences are shared in the Psalms that he wrote. In these writings, David seems to have a pattern: David tells God how much he is suffering and that he feels God is away from Him, but He praises God at the end. Here is an example:
1 O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 3Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!" Don't let them rejoice at my downfall. 5But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.
Christians are not exempt from the suffering and pain in this world. David, known as a "man after God's heart" (see Acts 13:22), suffered too. So did everyone who is written in Hebrews 11, the "heroes" of faith. Yet, the critical difference is that they trusted God even through their struggles. Based on their experiences/walks with God, they knew that God truly exists and that He will deliver them. The Psalm example I provided above shows David speaking honestly and letting God know all his emotions just as a child would do (by the way, that is true prayer!). Yet, David trusted God regardless of his emotions or circumstances.
I hope that encourages you to trust in God regardless of the circumstances that you may experience. Of course, Christians will be challenged in their faith, but what distinguishes them as true believers is whether they trust in God or turn away from God in the midst of it.
Now, to answer how we can respond to others experiencing suffering is not easy. There are many books written on this topic. You may want to pick up a few if you want some ways to rationalize and hear the views of other theologians on this topic. Regardless of the numerous ways we can understand suffering and pain and rationalize where God is during those times, it is not easy to accept. (This is why many books continue to be written on this topic).
An example of short writing on suffering is a well-known one called "Footprints." (https://www.onlythebible.com/Poems/Footprints-in-the-Sand-Poem.html)
When you encounter someone who is going through suffering, I want to suggest minimizing the need to explain or rationalize. Instead, love the person. Spend time with him/her and stay with him/her over time. Try reading 1Peter 4, where it talks about suffering. Here, I want to point to verses 8-10, where it says, "show deep love for each other" and "use (your gifts) to serve one another."
Through any struggle, let's help one another to keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). The primary way to do this is by loving the person.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.
Answered by Dr. Sang Sur
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