Monday, October 12, 2015

If God is real, why do we live in pain?

A portrayal of Job from the Bible. (Image Source)

One thing that I've never been able to understand is pain. And why it's apart of life.
I heard a sermon once where the preacher told the story of Jesus taking the disciples out onto the sea and falling asleep in the middle of an incredible storm. The disciples were battling the winds and rain and waves threatening to topple over the boat, and screaming at Jesus. Finally, he woke up and told the storm to hush, and everything went instantly calm. Leaving the disciples drenched to the bone and stunned.

This story always seems to get people all humble and reminiscent over the powers that our Creator holds in his voice. And it's true, it's remarkable. But why would Jesus take them out on the boat if he, being the all-knowing omniscient God, knew that there was a storm coming?

It's the same with Job, a man in the Old Testament, who is recorded to have been completely devoted to God. Wealthy and healthy. And full of devotion for God. At the start of the story the Devil taunts God, saying he could make even Job fold on God if his riches and health were taken from him. God said "okay, take them, he won't abandon me."

So over the course of the story, Job ends up stripped of his land, home, children, animals (aka source of income), and covered in boils from head to toe. Basically the definition of turmoil and suffering. For what purpose? To settle a little squabble between the Devil and the Creator?

God does not find joy or comfort in the suffering we face. In the end, when Job refused to let go of worshiping God, Satan left and Job gained double what he had owned and enjoyed before. When Jesus woke up in the boat with the disciples, he calmed the storm. So maybe the suffering we deal with is a test of our endurance.

Love is good. Love is the first and foremost thing that carries throughout the entire universe. But love isn't love unless it's chosen. So when God created the world (according to the Bible), he needed to give us that choice: to love or not to love. To be filled with good or to not be filled with good.

And thus the choice of good or evil that was posed to Adam and Eve in the garden. And they fell, chose evil, and now here we are. Whoop whoop.

God wanted us to be able to love him completely, to be truly devoted to Him. And to give us that, he also had to give us the choice to not be. And to not be devoted  to him is to be willingly full of sin and badness. Which is how you can account for most of the pain and suffering that is inflicted on us.

But then why do natural disasters occur? Why do some people live healthy, good lives and then out of the blue contract illnesses and diseases? Why is it fair that we are born into a world like this?

I don't know. And if I was Job, I'd be pretty mad. But for some reason I find comfort in the verse that goes, " Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (1 Corinthians 13:12)