Is God With Me When I'm Hurting?
Why doesn’t God stop people from hurting others?
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Some sources of evil from people
- Someone tells a lie about you resulting in you losing your job.
- A person you love hurts you either emotionally or physically.
- Someone you trusted steals from you, and you are the one who must pay for what was taken.
We continue our study in the Bible of why God allows so much evil in the world with a look at the evil that is done to us by the actions against us by people. According to the Bible, evil is found within “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: (1 John 2:16). However, there are many other situations where evil can also be found, for example, a government which treats us unjustly, terrorism, and people we know who injure us personally. In each of these situations the Bible gives us guidance for how we are to react.
God says in Romans 13:1-7 that He is the one who gives authority to any government to rule their people, and He demands justice for the people from those governments. We must obey the government in everything that is not specifically against God’s command – 1 Peter 2:13-20. We pray for our governmental leaders. We honor them in everything that is not specifically against God’s commands – see Peter and John’s answer to their governmental leaders in Acts 5:29. Jesus had said, “tell everyone about Me” and the government said, “be quiet!” Peter and John replied, “we must speak as God commands” and went to prison without argument for disobeying the government.
God allows people to make choices, but He holds each person responsible for the choice they make. Sin leads to hatred and anger. Both lead to death, just as God said it would be (Romans 6:23). We cannot control terrorist events. We cannot even prepare for them. If someone strikes a school or a church or a business and we happen to be nearby, we may suffer. Our only response can be Jesus’ command to not be afraid – see John 16:33. We need not fear anything when we know God is the one who keeps us forever – See Romans 8:38-39.
A family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker hurts you physically or emotionally. Jesus commands us in Matthew 18:15-20 to seek reconciliation with this person, and forgive them (verses 21-22). Remember, forgiving the one who hurt you is never about feelings, only about our choice to release to God what was done to and never hold it against that person again. Forgiving does not mean we must remain in a place where personal harm can continue. It only means we give all justice in this matter to God alone.
Know God hears and cares
God hears our cry and cares about our pain. Our pain is not continuing because He has forgotten us; it continues because He has a plan for what is happening. His plan is that everyone repents and trusts Him for salvation – 2 Peter 3:9. Jesus suffered much injustice here on earth because His suffering demonstrated the evil of sin. People who thought they were doing right according to their ways hurt Him, showing how things WE think are right for may be evil.
God’s power revealed in us
Our suffering has a wonderful and powerful purpose in God’s kingdom, just as Jesus’ suffering did. His suffering made a way for us to come to Him. Our suffering lights the way He made for people around us. How?
When we rejoice in our suffering (Matthew 5:10-12) others around us see how different we are, and are amazed that someone could truly experience joy in time of suffering.
There is great power in forgiveness! Remember how you felt when God forgave you your sin and made you His child? We can offer a taste of that to those who harm us too – forgiveness that is not earned or deserved, but given because we are like our Savior!
The power of undeserved love is just as great. Love attracts others to us, like moths are attracted to light. Then through our love, they get to know Jesus’ love for them.
God’s blessed hope
God has given us many promises that bring us hope even in our suffering. One of the great promises is from Romans 8:18 - “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
God has promised His children that He will not leave us to suffer judgement when He comes to judge this world: Romans 5:9 says, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.” Other verses, such as 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9; and Revelation 3:10 give us this same promise – He will call us to His side (John 14:1-3) before the time of His judgment comes to earth (see Revelation 6).
Suffering is never pleasant, but we can rejoice it in because we believe His promises that He will not only use our suffering for His kingdom, He will make our suffering into good for us. Great hope is ours, in Him, that our suffering is never without eternal purpose!
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, I choose to forgive ____ who has hurt me. I know I cannot forgive in my own strength, so I ask for Your help to do this. Make me more like You today.
Whom are you forgiving today?