Drawn to God
“Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” Job 1:8-11
Without a doubt, the “why?” question is probably the most asked when it comes to the problem of pain. “Lord, why did you allow this to happen?” Many times, those who suffer never get an answer from God, at least not on this side of eternity. From the text, Job did not know that God permitted Satan to take his health, family and wealth. You may be like Job today—hurting but never knowing “the why.” In this fallen world, some get more light than others and that makes the problem of evil that much tougher to unravel. One of God’s great purposes in pain is to draw us to Himself. We see this happen often in the Gospels as desperate people seek out Christ for miraculous healing. There was the paralytic whose friends lowered him down through the roof to meet Jesus (see Mark 2:1-12), there was the woman with the issue of blood (see Luke 8:40-56) and the official who had the sick son (see John 4:46-54). In each of these instances it was their dismal circumstances that caused them to seek the Savior. This demonstrates a timeless principle; in times of ease, comfort and prosperity we have little reason or motivation to need God in our lives. As long as we have plenty of money in the bank, our health is good, and things are smooth we want to keep God at arm’s length. He becomes a spare tire only for emergencies. We find God an interruption. David said it like this, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67). However, desperation drives us to God like nothing else. Now God, who has made us, knows who we are and that our happiness should lie in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even reasonably be looked for. God can and does use afflictions to change our affections. Suffering strips away all the superficial so that we will go deeper with life and give attention to those that matters; those that are eternal and spiritual. Hard times are that icy cold splash that wakes us up from spiritual slumber and gets our attention. Pain helps us reorder our priorities and reminds us of our weakness. Difficulty exposes our pride and produces humility. It’s only when we are lying flat on our back that we will look up to God.
Noel De Guzman