Welcome to our multi-part series Blog about common myths regarding suffering. How do we dismiss the lies and embrace God’s truth regarding suffering in our lives in order to gain strength and encouragement to endure, rather than become stuck in the bog of despair and disillusionment?
First, I write to an audience of people who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it be those who have believed for a matter of days or for decades. I wish to speak to those who are children of God yet find themselves in painful and overwhelming situations.
I spent over 20 years bedridden for weeks and months at a time due to chronic pain. I have heard so many reasons and excuses for why I was in that bed. Each week in this series, I will examine another “myth” explaining why God allows suffering.
I will begin with probably one of the most common and most discouraging myths: God is punishing you.
I recently heard a preacher say that salvation is 99% Jesus Christ but 1% us. I have heard this before. God does everything necessary for salvation (99%) but we must come, confess, repent, etc. (1%) to accomplish the last part of salvation. Do you agree?
Although I know that theologically this is ridiculous (how could I ever add to Jesus' complete work on the cross!!?), I must admit that this theory appeals to me. I know that I can’t earn my own salvation in any way, but I live my life many times as if it were up to me to maintain that salvation (how do you maintain a gift after all anyway? Then it is no longer a gift!). Again, theologically, I know that I can’t lose my salvation, but I think at times that God is somehow more pleased with me when I perform well and less pleased when I fail.
As a teenager, I cringed under the definition of grace. I thought it was so unfair! I was an obedient, good, well mannered teenager, who didn’t rebel against her parents like other teenagers I knew. I thought it was unfair that God gave them the same grace and forgiveness as a believer that he gave me. How arrogant and wrong I was!
Is it okay to ask God “why”? I am very familiar with the belief that asking God “why” indicates a lack of faith and trust. It shouldn’t be allowed and worse, if you do ask, then you should be condemned or ostracized by others. I couldn’t disagree more.
Are you questioning your suffering right now? Are you questioning the pain? I believe it is okay to ask God the big “why” questions. He certainly is big enough and secure enough as God to handle your doubts. I do caution you though. Be on guard as to where the questioning leads. Does it lead towards God or away from Him?
Some days when I run, I feel like an eagle that can soar to limitless heights, with amazing potential and the strength and energy to tackle any run. Other days, I am a slug; no energy, no motivation, no strength. The exhaustion of only a few steps screams at me to quit. The run feels like it has absolutely no value or purpose. The run just isn’t worth it.
What do we do when we feel like the slug in life? What do we do when getting out of bed is a chore? Perhaps the drudgery and monotony of the emptiness of our daily routines makes us feel valueless and purposeless. Perhaps pain is the culprit that makes us feel like isn’t worth living anymore. Each day is darker than the last, with no hope of any changes on the horizon. What are we to do?
Dana Kimmelmann, Founder/CEO of BeStrong Ministries, desires to share the hope of the Gospel with everyone! Formerly from Washington State (USA), she currently resides in Munich, Germany.
Dana and her husband, Andy, co-author a bilingual Blog, Coffee with Onions