Suffering - Through the Apparent Silence of God
It seems that there are many resources on the subject of suffering and disappointment with God’s answer to our prayers, and included in those are many wise sayings immediately pertinent to the point. They are often put in a clever and meaningful and pithy way and they do add a sharp and concise message on the subject. I do pay tribute for my debt to those authors who have helped me in stimulating my feelings, thoughts and expressions on the subject.
However, nothing that I have read in the literature on the subject of suffering, with reference to Job and other worthy sufferers in Scripture, either in my religious faith, or any other literature by those outside that faith, has hit the gnawing spot in my heart and the disappointment I so keenly felt with the pain of the “no” answer, which has occurred in my life. So I have tried to put together something that helped me.
Perhaps it will help others who are also disappointed and still searching. The discussion is drawn out piece by piece over the entirety of this booklet. A slow discussion is necessary for such a complicated subject and will only have relevance to those who are troubled by the outcomes in their lives, when they see others with different answers.
There are some ideas on God’s responses to His people in the Old and New Testaments with some discussion on the different methods God used to inform about His purpose, and to punish wickedness and sin. It also seems imperative to understand that God’s son came not to do miracles and healing with big power displays, but to grow faithful and resilient men through unhealed suffering, men who demonstrate their love not in the going down, but in the rising up.
As well, the question of large scale suffering in racial or national trauma is discussed, where many people seemingly suffer to the end without relief. There is an attempt to answer that, and to show how God might work with His people to bring about more people to His name and purpose. It can then be better understood how the wholesale and national suffering, which some people go through, is never relieved, and from which they die terrible deaths. In their dying, still bound by bonds of evil, there are some precious souls who, rising above the evil, ask, Christ like, that the evil ones are forgiven. God cares less for winning causes than He does for winning men, and sometimes the former cause is sacrificed for the cause of the latter. But in that endless suffering, it is a fact that God remembers the fruits of goodness derived from the ill will of the evil ones. There is a greatness of heart which grows out of that evil, especially in the prayers of those that suffer. May it be that in the importuning, and the fruit that has been borne from the suffering, there will be the forgiveness of the evil ones. In any case we can always remember that the joyous Sunday comes after the terrible Friday (that is, resurrection after crucifixion).
As needs be, there is a discussion on the incomprehensible measures God uses in our suffering and on the disappointing “no” answer. That is caused by a misunderstanding, where our measure is quite different to His measure, a state which is hard for us to grasp.
There are 27 discussions, each sufficient for one thought for the day, not dependent on one another and sometimes with repeating pertinent points. Each one works through a set program of understanding where hopefully we grow in faith and hope, to appreciate tragedy and suffering.
I have reaped more than I sowed in putting down these thoughts. Green pastures have replaced the desert, and there is still water, when there was groaning and a flooded torrent. I am restored by His shepherding rod and staff for my forward journey. My cup is overflowing with goodness and now I am drinking, as the song says, from my saucer. I am blessed that as the Lord speaks to me, that I may speak, and as He fills me with His fullness and my heart and my cup overflows, then I may also tell of His overflowing love to praise Him.1. About suffering
2. Is God hiding His face when He is seemingly silent?
3. Why does it have to be suffering that leads us to the joy?
4. What do we learn from our suffering?
5. Hope in a future, when there seems no future in suffering
6. When the answer from God is “No” and the suffering continues
7. Are we disappointed with God when we suffer?
8. More than importuning in importuning for our suffering hearts
9. If the answer is “no”, what then does God offer in our suffering?
10. Clear words from God about suffering - creation to the kings
11. Different words from God about suffering - kings to the prophets
12. Jesus’ answers, about God’s apparent silence, were still not enough
13. Was the mission of the son of God perceived as a failure?
14. What did the terrible crucifixion do for us in our suffering?
15. How did God instruct the people now about joy and suffering?
16. Our righteous response to God is His reward
17. God’s measure is not our measure
18. Love God and be content with the “no” answer to our suffering
19. Are we satisfied with God’s answer about suffering?
20. We are incomplete without the mind of God in suffering
21. We are surprised by time in our joys and our sufferings
22. Miracles in our time of suffering
23. We are surprised by any joy found in suffering
24. Memories are important in suffering
25. Choices to make in our suffering
26. God’s non answer in our suffering
27. God’s promises to us in our suffering
This book is dedicated to all those of God who have suffered in their lifetime, often with a “no” answer.
They know the refining fire and they know that such suffering teaches us hope and faith in Him when there is nothing else.
Cover Photo: “Looking up”, Joel Hillman - from “The Lugarno Bush Track Series”
Publisher: Beverley Russell, September 2008
More copies of this book are available from:
12 Booyong Avenue Lugarno, 2210, NSW, Australia
Phone: 02 9153 5779, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed and bound in Australia: Ligare Pty Ltd, www.ligare.com.au
Supplementary works by the same author:
- “Travelling Through Tragedy, Carrying Burdens and Managing Life’s Unavoidable Sadness”
- “Depression - when all might seem lost”
- “Forgiveness and Reconciliation”
- “Kith and Kin - Studies in Dysfunction in Godly Families During the Patriarchal Age - The stories of Genesis - A Consideration of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph” (600 pages)