Does God Care When We Are Suffering?



Question: “Does God care if we are suffering?  If He does care, what is He doing to help me?”



Bible Answers

A son is killed, a spouse becomes ill or leaves, we lose our job, or we become sick and disabled.  Where is God? Does He care? Does He know what is happening?  The real question is, “Does God play a direct role in the details of our life?” Why does God seem so silent when I need Him most?  Life is filled with suffering because we live in a world that has been corrupted by sin.  While most of us easily see God’s blessing, it is far more difficult to see God’s hand in adversity.  Each of us will experience some measure of agony during our life.  Some times the agony may be mild while other times pain, anguish, and despair may be washing over us like a mighty ocean.


Suffering is a catalyst that produces a spiritual change. Satan uses hardship as a wedge to pry you away from God while God uses suffering to draw you into His loving arms. As a result, as suffering enters your life, so does the temptation to doubt God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness. You have a choice. Will you turn your back on God or trust God to work in your situation? Your choice will determine whether your trials will make you a better person or if your trials will result in your destruction.


Some may falsely believe that God is only aware of the big issues of the universe.  But God knows the little detains of our life.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30).  I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands (Isaiah 49:15-16).  God is aware of the smallest details of your life.  Okay, God knows our problems, but does He care? The question is legitimate.  Our problems often are so large that we focus only on them.  We see the problems rather than God, then question if God is with us. But God said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  Do not be afraid, for I am with you (Genesis 26:24). I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go (Genesis 28:15).  In numerous scriptures, God assures us that he is with us.  We need to be careful that we do not confuse God’s silence for His absence.


Okay, God is aware of us and is with us, but does He care? Is He willing to use His almighty power to remove the obstacles that we are facing?  While we may not always have a clear answer, we do have adequate information to get us through the questions.


First

God put us together and he is deeply involved in our earthly existence.  He cares for us.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).  He is able to provide for our needs.  And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  


Second

While God may not remove us from a difficult situation, He will guide us in every situation.  For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end (Psalm 48:14).  We need to pray and ask God to show us His ways and to guide us. To see God, we need to get our eyes off our problems and on God. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long (Psalm 25:4-5).


Third

We need to ask God specifically, urgently, expectantly, and constantly to intervene in our lives.  We need to believe and not quit. If God does not intervene in the way that we want Him to, it is not because he doesn’t care. Trusting God is to trust Him to help us in His way and in His timing. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Fourth

We tend to evaluate God on how well he “delivers” for us. We forget that God’s timing is not our timing.  We tend to dictate to God what we want and then we are disappointed when we do not get what we want the way we want it and in the time we want it.  We would be less frustrated if we did not view God as existing to meet our expectations but rather put our trust in Him to work it out for our best.  


Fifth

We focus on our immediate problem; God focuses on the big picture that we do not see.  While God does not normally create problems, He does use them to mold us to our betterment, for our spiritual excellence, if we will let Him.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).


And sometimes, because of the big picture that God sees, we will never know the reason until we get to heaven. For example, we have heard of missionaries that have been massacred while working in a foreign country.  We ask, “How could God permit one of His own to be massacred when he was working so hard to serve the Lord”?  While we may not learn of an answer, in other cases, we later hear how hundreds of people came to the Lord because of the way the missionary died refusing to deny Jesus.


Example from the Psalmist

In his agony he said, I was too troubled to speak. “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? (Ps 77:4,7). Then the psalmist stopped questioning the present and remembered all the Lord had done for him and how the Lord had rescued him in the past, and his attitude completely changed.  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”  Your ways, God, are holy.  What god is as great as our God?  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples (Ps 77: 11-14).


Suffering can produce

It is suffering that can direct our attention to God.  That draws us closer to God.  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes (Psalm 119:71). God does not want you to be destroyed through trials but to shape you for His glory and to mold you to be more like Christ.



When we cry out for God to intervene, we may face silence; in other cases we see God’s movement to rescue us. We may be rescued immediately, or we may be rescued in months or even years.  But we must believe that God loves us and knows what is best.  We must trust that God is doing what is best for others and ourselves from His infinite view.  We must trust God with all of our heart.


…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  You are not thanking God for the problem or pain, but you are thanking God for being with you, for His victory, and for what refinements He is producing in you.


As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered (James 5:11).



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