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Sin, suffering and the sovereignty of God

Seems like the older I get, the less I understand.

These past weeks have been a whirlwind that have left me feeling like a person hanging on for dear life on a runaway rollercoaster. Somehow I thought the older I got the more things would begin to slow down.

Boy, was I wrong!

Not only am I busier now than any other time in my life — serving as full-time wing chaplain at my Air National Guard unit and also as bi-vocational pastor at a little country church — I’m also seen more and more people grappling with “Sin, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.”

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column on “Cycles and Seasons Of Life” from Ecclesiastes 3:1. In it I shared about one of our unit’s crew chiefs whose plane crashed while flying a fire detection mission for the Forestry Service. I wrote about the brevity and uncertainty of life and how we must entrust our lives to a sparrow-watching, hair-counting, tear-catching God.

Right on the heels of that the 10-year-old son of one of our unit members, who’d been battling cancer for seven years, died. What a blessing he was! So full of life and courage right up until the very end; yet, God chose to give him ultimate healing in Heaven instead of temporal healing here on earth.

Then, this past week I visited another unit member in his 40s, who’s never smoked, drank or chewed and ran three miles every day. But, three months ago he was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer and is now battling for his life. Doesn’t seem right that someone like him would come down with cancer, but he did.

“That’s not fair,” someone cries.

“You’re right,” I reply. “But, then, who said life had to be fair?”

Yes, dear Reader, life’s not fair — at least by our standards; neither is it kind. But, that’s where Faith and Trust in a loving Heavenly Father come in, especially when you’re trying to make sense of things like those mentioned above.

Without a doubt, one of the greatest mysteries we grapple with is that of evil and why “good people suffer.” That’s why a lot of folks turn their back on God, organized religion, matters of Faith, etc., because none of this stuff makes sense—at least from a natural, logical perspective.

But, again, that’s where we must bring our doubts, perplexities, anger, fears, etc., to God and “let God be God.” Truly, “His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways—for they’re much higher (deeper) than mine” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even though I may not understand why I, a loved one or friend suffers, I must still entrust my life into the nail-scarred Hands of the One Who promised to “never leave me or forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5)—even Jesus, the One Who came all the way from Heaven to show us the Father’s Love.

Without that as the spiritual North of my soul’s compass, I surely would throw my hands up and say “What’s the use?!?” or shake my fist at Heaven. It’s hard enough to cope with life’s hardships and heartaches with Faith; I’d certainly not want to try doing so without it because it’d be virtually unbearable.

Truly, it’s my Faith in a God I cannot see…trusting that He will “work everything together for good in my life as I love Him and fulfill His Purpose for my life” (Romans 8:28) … resting in the assurance that He is with me, guiding me and has a Plan for my life (Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11) … that enables me to go on when the easiest thing to do would be to give up and grow bitter.

Here’s praying you’ll look up and cry out to the Lord right now, dear Reader, if you’re at “Wit’s End Corner,” which is at the corner of Hopelessness and Despair (Ps. 107:27). He’ll hear your cry and answer your prayer by whispering, “Trust Me. Rest in Me.” Only in so doing will you be able to still have His Hope and Peace when life’s caving in on top of you. God bless you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.

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