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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some Thoughts to Ponder

Recently, I just started reading Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper, mainly because my teaching will involve some apologetic knowledge as well. Aside from that, I do find the topic very interesting, and I would like to present it in a light that is able to help others understand why God allows suffering in this world. As I was reading through the book, I came across a story that made me think like I'd never thought before. John Piper explains the story, from a Pastor's point of view, of a woman whose life eventually led to tragedy. The pastor writing the story describes the woman's initial childhood- raised to serve the Lord by Godly parents and from early on desired to serve the Lord. She had a heart for the Taiwanese people and wished to marry someone who had the same desires, serving God as missionaries to Taiwan. She decided to wait for the right one to come along, and when she began college that man entered into her life. He had the same desires as she. They courted for a few years, and when he finally proposed to her, she sought out the Lord in this decision for a few months and found that this was definitely the one for her. A couple years after they got married, this woman found her husband to be unfaithful to her. When asked to repent of his sin, he did but went right back to it after a while. This cycle continued for a few years as they sought out counseling, but the husband grew worse and ended up filing for divorce, leaving her pregnant and single. Her one question to the Pastor was this, How could God choose this man to be her husband, specifically give her an answer that he was the one, if this man was only going to cheat on her and leave her? How could God allow this to happen to someone who had desired only to do God's will her whole entire life, who had prayed earnestly for the right one, and let this happen?

After I read that, I let it sink in. I had actually never thought of such a scenario before! As I pondered it, I suddenly came to the conclusion that "Yes, it is possible for God to allow such an event to occur in the life of a believer." Perhaps you came to the same conclusion as well or perhaps you are saying, "What is wrong with you??? God would NOT do that!" I have my reasons that I will further develop in the next few paragraphs. For right now though, I want you to assume that the story you just read above leaves the woman absolutely blameless, as she is portrayed. Yes, we don't have all the facts from both sides, but let's just assume that she was a true believer,she had not strayed to her will in the matter of marriage, and that there were no indications of this man's strange behavior before their marriage. In order to believe this situation, one must also assume that God, through the Holy Spirit, had spoken clearly to her that this was the man she was to marry. Now that we have made all those assumptions, I'll explain why this still can happen to a blameless person.

We know that God allows bad things to happen to good people,as the Bible verse states that "the rain falls on the just and unjust." This is also seen in the book of Job where Job, a blameless man, is befallen with many trials, leaving him with nothing but his life. God knew Job was a just man, but God allowed Satan to attack Job with all these trials for His glory and to see if Job would still love God and obey Him, despite the circumstances. In the end, Job did so and glorified God in the process. What Satan had meant for evil, God intended for good, and in the end, Job was restored back what he had lost with more to go around! This is a clear example of God allowing evil to occur in a blameless person's life.

I would go even further to say that another book in the Bible supports the idea of God allowing a marriage to fail, though the one was blameless. That book is Hosea. Hosea was told by God to marry a harlot, named Gomer. Hosea did so and had children from her harlotry. She ended up leaving him to go back to her harlot ways, and Hosea had to pay a price to bring her back. Gomer was in no way faithful to Hosea, but Hosea was obviously a Godly man since he was a prophet of the Lord! If God can allow Hosea to have a broken marriage, then couldn't he do so in the life of a Christian?

I think so. It's not a pleasant thought, nor is it one that we would want to accept. God uses circumstances like that though for good ultimately in the end, for those that love Him. I think many times we have this misconceived perception, me included, that if we wait in obedience to God for the right person, follow His will, and live holy lives, we will get a Godly young man/woman and live "happily" ever after (excluding the trials in marriage that are not affair related). God doesn't make happily-ever-afters on earth for everyone though, and there is a reason for that. It isn't always punishment for sin, it can be as an example to others like Hosea was,or it could just be a time of faith-building and strengthening like it was for Job. We don't know all the reasons behind the why of what God does, but I do know He does what's best. The thought of the possibility of this happening when I get married does not make me cringe though, as I know that if God so permitted to do so, it would be just and right. The Bible says, "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Yes. Yes He does! And even though I may be "blameless" in my ways (hypothetically speaking, not actuality) I still don't deserve anything I have here on earth because I sin everyday and will do so until I get to Heaven. With those thoughts in mind I can see no reason why it would be unjust for God to allow someone to marry someone knowing full well the marriage would end within a few short years. Your thoughts?