Week 4: Is God paying attention when we suffer?
By Yolandé Korkie
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” (NLT)
The Bible is filled with the history of people suffering and God responding to them in various ways. Early in Genesis we meet Hagar, who cried out in the wilderness on two occasions and was met by the Lord to such an extent that she called Him, “The One who sees”. In Exodus we read of a nation that was forged during their time of tribulation in Egypt. They cried out to the Lord, He heard, and set them free. These stories reveal God’s involvement and intervention during suffering, and most probably represents our picture of what we expect God to do when we suffer – namely deliver us from suffering.
In Job’s story we found that Job questioned God’s sovereignty during his suffering, but never received the answer he hoped for. However, the absence of answers to his ‘why’ questions does not imply that God is not aware of his suffering. Neither did God reprimand Job for asking these questions. Instead, through humbling questions of His own, Job was brought to a place of increased faith and acceptance that God was in control.
David declares in Ps 23 that he will fear no evil as he walks through the sunless valley of the shadow of death – not because there is no evil – but because we live in a broken and fallen world where evil exists. The prospect of difficulties did not deter David because the Lord promised to be right alongside him.
As followers of Jesus, we should not be surprised by suffering (John 16:33), but we should rest in the knowledge that God is sovereign, and He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Reflection: How does knowing that God – living in you, as a believer, through His Holy Spirit – change the way you think about suffering? Do you think He can forget about your suffering? Can you be separated from Him when you go through difficulties?
Image: Pexels/ Tatiana Syrikova