Raw Questions Relevant Answers

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: RQRA

Program Code: RQRA000002A

00:01 I don't understand
00:04 why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:20 Hello and welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers,
00:23 a program that young people
00:25 are able to send their questions to,
00:27 and we just walk through them
00:29 as young people dealing with a heavy,
00:31 hot topics for our demographic.
00:33 Today, we are dealing with the program
00:35 on the topic of suffering
00:36 and where is God in the midst of suffering?
00:38 I got two awesome co-hosts with me,
00:40 Mark Paden and Michelle Doucoumes.
00:43 And so, I guess let's just go ahead and start right away
00:45 'cause time is of the essence.
00:47 So our first question is from a 15-year-old in Tennessee,
00:51 15-year-old female, this is what she says.
00:53 This is a raw question.
00:55 She says, "Help me please to understand where God
00:57 is when I'm crying and alone
00:59 and when I'm ready to take my own life
01:01 because I've been on this road so long and it's awful.
01:05 The path to heaven is a fiery hell."
01:09 Wow.
01:10 You know, first, I just want to say that
01:15 that is incredible bold to share that kind of question.
01:19 And I just want to say to whoever you are,
01:21 you're valuable.
01:23 Your life is incredibly valuable.
01:25 I don't...
01:27 There's no reason for anybody to need to take their life.
01:31 God has given each of us incredible talents and gifts
01:34 and love from Him that, you know...
01:37 You're valuable, you're worth something.
01:41 But I want to sort of unpack this question
01:43 because we need to dive deep into solving the problem
01:48 so that we don't have to feel this way, right?
01:52 The first thing that I want to say...
01:53 And the first part of that question
01:56 is where is God in the midst of all this when I'm hurting,
01:59 when I'm in pain?
02:00 I just don't understand like, why isn't God helping me?
02:04 The first thing I want to do is bring us to the Book of Psalms.
02:06 If you're struggling,
02:08 go to the Book of Psalms and the Isaiah 40s.
02:10 Those are pure gold.
02:12 But this first one, Psalm 55, starting in verse 1,
02:17 "Give ear to my prayer, O God,
02:20 and hide not thyself from my supplication.
02:23 Attend unto me and hear me,
02:25 I mourn in my complaint and make a noise."
02:28 This is in the old English, but you get what he is saying.
02:31 He's crying out to God, essentially saying,
02:34 "God, where are you?"
02:35 You know, "Hear my prayer, don't hide Yourself
02:38 from what I'm asking You."
02:40 So first of all, recognize that...
02:42 Okay, who was David?
02:43 This was a pretty intense dude, right?
02:45 Yeah.
02:46 I mean, he goes out like Saul wants him
02:49 to kill 100 Philistines, he kills 200, right?
02:53 Just like he's an intense dude, and yet here's his prayer.
02:59 "God, where are you? I'm in pain.
03:01 Where are you?"
03:02 So don't feel like if you're going through this,
03:04 and if you're asking these questions
03:06 and you're wondering where God is,
03:08 you're not some terrible person.
03:10 It's not like you're going through something
03:11 that nobody else has ever gone through.
03:13 There is hope.
03:15 Another passage that I really want us to look to,
03:18 and I think this is where we can start
03:19 to come into our answer is Psalm 77.
03:22 Again, it starts out by saying,
03:25 "I cried unto God with my voice," verse 1,
03:27 "even unto God with my voice, and He gave ear unto me."
03:31 This is the first thing, God does give ear unto us.
03:34 Keep your fingers there,
03:36 but we're going to switch over to Psalm 139 really quick,
03:37 and the question,
03:39 "Where is God when I'm hurting?"
03:40 Well, this is actually where He is.
03:44 Psalm 139, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
03:48 You know my down sitting and my uprising..."
03:50 You know, when I sit down and when I stand up.
03:52 "You understand my thought from afar,
03:56 You are hedging me behind and before
03:59 and are acquainted with all my ways."
04:01 You see, where is God when we're hurting?
04:04 He's right there in the middle of it with us,
04:05 He is understanding our thought.
04:07 You know, that thought that's in your mind
04:08 that you can't understand,
04:10 that's bugging you, that's paining you,
04:11 you don't know how to deal with it, God understands that.
04:14 And he is not just absently afar off, He understands.
04:19 But the beauty of this Psalm 77
04:21 and where we start to get into the answer is Asaph
04:25 is the one who wrote this psalm,
04:27 he starts off, "He's in the day of my trouble,
04:29 I sought the Lord.
04:31 My soul ran in the night,
04:33 my soul refused to be comforted," right?
04:34 He's in this intensity and depression and darkness.
04:38 And then he gets to this point, and he realizes,
04:42 verse 10, "And I said, 'This is my infirmity,
04:45 but I will remember the years
04:47 of the right hand of the Most High.
04:49 I will remember the works of the Lord.
04:52 Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
04:55 I will meditate also of all Your work
04:57 and talk of Your doings.'"
04:58 So in the midst of this, we can call it depression,
05:01 I think that he is in, he is recognizing,
05:04 "Wait, I need to take my eyes off of this junk
05:07 that's going on and fix my eyes higher."
05:10 Instead of looking at all the bad situations,
05:13 the misery that I'm in,
05:15 I'm going to remember the years of the Most High God.
05:18 I'm going to remember that He is infinite,
05:19 that He has power,
05:20 that He understands my thought from afar off.
05:22 He knows me, He is intimately connected with me,
05:25 and though I can't understand this right now,
05:27 and though I can't figure it out right now, that's okay.
05:31 I can simply rest in Jesus as my Savior.
05:34 I can rest in His arms and know that He is there for me.
05:39 That's huge, Mark.
05:40 And, you know, during these times,
05:43 it really can be hard to see what God is doing
05:47 and to see that light, the darkness comes in,
05:50 but, you know, Jesus talks about this.
05:54 In John 10:10, He says,
05:56 "The thief does not come except to steal,
05:59 to kill, and to destroy."
06:02 Maybe you're out there feeling like that like
06:03 that's what has happened to me.
06:05 Things have been stolen from me, my life is ruin,
06:08 things are bad, but it doesn't stop there,
06:10 thankfully, Jesus continues His verse,
06:12 He says, "I have come that they may have life,
06:16 and that they may have it more abundantly."
06:20 That's sort of huge thing is that no matter
06:22 what's been stolen from you and what has happened,
06:26 that there is a God who still says, "There's hope.
06:29 There's something better."
06:30 It's not just a hell all the way
06:33 until the end of life.
06:34 He says, "I want you to have life more abundantly."
06:36 And He continues it, verse 11, "I am the good shepherd.
06:40 The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
06:44 And that's the way that this happens, you know.
06:47 It's a hard question to answer.
06:49 Jesus disciples asked Him
06:51 about the things happening in the world.
06:53 And it's interesting Jesus
06:54 tells a parable of wheat and tares,
06:57 and how these tares grow up.
06:59 And they ask, you know, "What happens here?"
07:01 And in the story, Jesus says to,
07:03 Matthew 13:28, "An enemy has done this."
07:07 We have an enemy, and that's huge to realize.
07:10 It wasn't God's plan for those things to happen.
07:12 We have an enemy who's planted all that nasty junk
07:15 you're going through, but Jesus still says,
07:17 "There is an abundant life available."
07:20 And it is because He gives His life for the sheep.
07:23 There's this promise in Old Testament where it says
07:26 that God will restore where the locust had eaten and taken.
07:29 That even we've had a situation
07:31 where an outsider has come and violated,
07:34 and robbed, and stolen,
07:35 that He is able to restore
07:37 those lost years and bring good.
07:40 You think of the experience of Job
07:42 that we're told at the end of his life,
07:43 his story was transformed when he prayed for his friends,
07:46 but also told that he received double
07:48 what he had before
07:50 than what he had at the first time around.
07:52 And I think it's amazing
07:53 that even though he went through this hardship,
07:55 God was with him every step of the way,
07:57 and that God silenced his accusers for him.
08:00 He didn't have to do it himself.
08:02 And lastly, the God gave him an abundance
08:04 at the end of what he went through.
08:06 I want to have a follow-up question
08:08 which continues our discourse,
08:09 and I want to throw in another principle here.
08:11 I also want to throw in one more practical thing.
08:12 Yeah, yeah, so we will in a moment.
08:14 "So how can I serve a God, they say,
08:16 that allows hurt and pain to happen
08:17 to innocent children?"
08:19 This is a 16-year-old from Maryland,
08:21 16-year-old female.
08:22 The other principle I want to address here
08:24 is that sometimes we think that when bad things
08:27 are happening in the world,
08:28 did you know a way which we deal with this topic
08:30 of the great controversy or theodicy,
08:32 an explanation for the existence of evil.
08:34 Most times it's that it wasn't God's fault when it started,
08:37 and that God's going to put an end to it.
08:39 But there is this middle ground that we really wrestle with
08:42 that I wish we would address more.
08:44 One of the things that Jesus talks about in John 16
08:47 when talking about the ministry of the Holy Spirit
08:49 is that He is going to convict the world,
08:51 not just religious people.
08:52 He's going to convict the world of sin,
08:54 of righteousness in judgment.
08:56 We see it throughout the Old Testament
08:58 and the New Testament,
08:59 a God who is pursuing, pursuing, pursuing
09:02 and trying to put an end to nonsense in people's lives,
09:05 convicting them, saying why, He says,
09:07 "I had no pleasure in the death of the wicked,"
09:08 for instance, in Ezekiel 33:11, I think.
09:11 He says, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
09:13 but that the wicked turn from his ways,"
09:15 and He says, "turn, turn from your evil ways,
09:17 for why should you die, O house of Israel?"
09:20 That same appeal is being made to every violator,
09:23 to every perpetrator, to every abuser,
09:26 to every person who is being used
09:27 to propagate evil on this planet,
09:30 the Spirit of God is striving with those souls
09:32 to cease and desist and respond to the cross.
09:36 And I think we cannot overlook that even in the midst of chaos
09:39 and horrible things in the world,
09:41 there's a God in heaven
09:42 who is tenaciously pursuing each individual's soul
09:46 to respond to be saved.
09:48 Because in Matthew 25:41, He says, "Depart from Me,
09:51 you cursed, in the everlasting fire
09:52 prepared for the devil and his angels."
09:55 Humanity is not on that list.
09:57 God doesn't want any to be lost,
09:58 He's striving with all to be saved.
10:00 And He's trying to get them to change their mind
10:02 while giving them freedom to make their own choice.
10:04 So I just want to make sure
10:05 that middle ground is covered in the sense.
10:08 You have another...
10:09 Oh, go ahead, Michelle. No.
10:11 And it's huge,
10:13 because there's a lot of those three phases.
10:16 There's the idea, first of all,
10:17 of realizing that God did not create evil,
10:20 God did not even create a devil.
10:22 God created a good being, Lucifer,
10:26 who when we look through things like Ezekiel 28,
10:28 we find out how that corruption started
10:31 and what happened with that.
10:33 And then in Revelation 12,
10:35 the battle that was in heaven of God
10:37 not even wanting to give Him up
10:38 but having to do that.
10:40 And then looking at the history of our earth,
10:44 of Adam and Eve, the choices that they made,
10:46 and how much God for the value or the power of choice
10:50 was willing to let some crazy things to happen
10:54 that are hard for us to understand.
10:56 But first of all, realizing that was never God's plan.
11:00 God in the middle of that
11:01 is still wanting as much redemption of people
11:05 as He can possibly achieve.
11:08 And that it's also important
11:10 to know that there will be an end,
11:12 that there will be justice.
11:14 That God cares about mercy,
11:16 but He is not okay with bad things happening to children.
11:19 That was the one thing that made Jesus very angry
11:22 when He talked about little children being abused
11:24 and things happening,
11:26 He said, "It'd be better for a millstone
11:27 to be hung around someone's neck."
11:30 If you think about it, we're in the middle of a war,
11:34 and sometimes in a war,
11:35 there are casualties that are innocent people.
11:38 And so, no, it wasn't those kids' fault.
11:41 God never wants us to believe that maybe the babies
11:43 weren't important or that something wrong happened,
11:46 but we are in a war where God is still with us,
11:49 and thankfully, there is an end also.
11:52 You know, one other thing too
11:53 that I think is important in this whole discussion,
11:57 we're not going to always understand everything.
12:02 I want to. Right, exactly.
12:03 And that's the natural human tendency
12:06 is that when something bad happens,
12:07 when these things go on, we want to figure it out,
12:10 we want to have a satisfying solution, answers,
12:13 so that we know,
12:15 but one thing that we have to recognize
12:17 is that there are going to be some things in life
12:20 that we may not find a fully satisfactory answer towards.
12:25 And in those moments, we have to trust the heart of God.
12:27 God has revealed so much in His Word of His love for us
12:31 and has proved it in so many ways, through Him,
12:33 dying on the cross, that's no joke.
12:36 He didn't just hurt for a little bit,
12:38 He went through a ton to save us.
12:40 And in those times when we just don't understand,
12:44 we need to trust the heart of Christ.
12:46 One other practical thing too
12:48 that I just want to mention on the previous question,
12:50 just because I think
12:51 it's so important is that we need to come to a place
12:54 when we're wrestling with those thoughts in our mind,
12:56 those destructive thoughts about, "Oh, and this,
12:59 God doesn't hear, He doesn't care about me."
13:01 We need to readdress those with truth.
13:04 So we need to be intentional about saying,
13:07 "Okay, when I'm having this thought, no, that's a lie.
13:10 I need to do with this.
13:12 I need to replace that with this thought."
13:14 Well, it talks about taking every thought captive
13:16 to the obedience of Christ,
13:17 like bringing those thoughts that aren't in harmony
13:20 with the Word of God to Jesus to transform,
13:22 and rearrange our system of truth
13:25 internally and experientially.
13:28 I just want to kind of close with an appeal for those
13:30 who may be just wrestling with this whole process,
13:33 know that there's a God in heaven who hates pain,
13:35 who is willing to go through your pain
13:38 and the consequences of all abuse,
13:40 of all harm to ensure that all could be saved.
13:44 He wants all to be saved,
13:45 He does what it takes for all to be saved,
13:47 and God Himself hurts in the midst of this conflict
13:51 because not all will receive salvation.
13:54 You have a God who is acquainted with your sorrow,
13:56 who has suffered in your stead,
13:58 and who has promised
13:59 that He would put an end to all of our pain,
14:00 and we're told in Revelation 21,
14:02 "He even wipe the tears from our eyes
14:05 when it's all said and done,"
14:06 and He's coming to bring us home.
14:08 Thank you again for joining us,
14:09 and we look forward to seeing you on our next program
14:11 on Raw Questions Relevant Answers.


Revised 2018-07-16