By David McNeely
God Permits What He Hates
I hope that statement sinks into the depths of our souls. I’m afraid we think God might just sometimes be excited about our pain and suffering. Perhaps He is a God who only does the “real work” when we are wounded to the core.
Does He roll His eyes when we laugh with our children? Is He enduring the peaceful stretches of our lives while sadistically planning the excruciating moments when it is difficult to even breathe?
The Bible would say, “No.” Steve would agree.
God hates suffering. He despises pain. They are results of the first Adam’s sin. The Garden of Eden was not made with fractures. But the fracture of all fractures happened.
God warned them against sin, but they chose it anyway. Death, pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, brokenness, and all kinds of junk entered the picture and God hated it. He still hates it. Isn’t that comforting?
God DOES NOT delight in your trial. But He does take pleasure in what He can do in the midst of your trial. He does not smirk at your pain but he does smile when you become more like Jesus through the pain.
Jesus was angry at death when he called Lazarus out of the grave. He hates death. Death is sought after by the thief, life is given by the Shepherd. Jesus did not take joy in Lazarus’ death; He wept. But He also thanked God for what was about to happen as a result of death being overcome by life.
Maybe the best thing is to let Joni tell us what she thinks about God permitting in order to accomplish:
“But given the fact that we live in a fallen world, God still permits suffering to occur, especially in the lives of His people in order to ‘accomplish that which He loves.’
What is it that He loves to accomplish in our lives through suffering?
Well, for me in this wheelchair, I know that suffering has made my faith more muscular. I know that suffering has deepened my prayer life, made me more interested in the Bible, and it’s really done a job on my character (helped me learn patience and endurance).
I know that my suffering has made heaven come alive for me; it has jerked my thoughts right side up. And it certainly made me more sensitive to others who hurt.
Most of all, it has helped me to identify with Jesus in His suffering; it has helped me grasp a tiny little inkling of all the awful things Jesus went through to secure my salvation. Oh, my friend, suffering has helped me to appreciate so much more the cross and what my Savior accomplished there.
And when problems for me pile on even higher—like chronic pain and cancer on top of quadriplegia—then it drives me even deeper into the arms of Jesus.”