A Common Dilemma --Part 1

A Common Dilemma
Part 1

C. H. Darch

This is the question of the ages; men have ever been asking it.

Why? Oh! Why?

There is scarcely a home without trouble; sorrow is everywhere, sickness, unemployment, family cares, business difficulties and a multitude of other things, all causing anxiety. Life is not a bed of roses; there are roses it is true, but they have thorns that hurt.

Surely God could have prevented this! He could have given us roses without thorns, yet He has not. No doubt He has a wise reason.

“He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim,
He gives the very best to those,
Who leave the choice with Him.”

But can pain be “the very best”? We left the choice with Him, and now we are face to face with trial.

As ever, the Word of God is our guide, not short-sighted reason; therefore let us wait on Him and hear what He has to say to us.

There are at least eight reasons given in answer to our question in the Scriptures; consideration of these will better equip us for life.

Suffering May Be Sowing and Reaping.

This is a God-given principle (Gal. 6:7) from which He never deviates; if wild oats are sown, its harvest will be reaped. God does not work miracles to save His child the results of his foolish acts. What a harvest David reaped from his corrupt sowing in the matter of Uriah’s wife!

The consequences were inevitable though mercy rejoiced against judgment.

Suffering May Be Heredity.

“For I the Lord God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that HATE Me” (Ex. 20:5). The Jews cried, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25), and today they are suffering, fulfiling the word of the Lord in Deuteronomy 28:65, “Among these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest.” Life’s sorrows are made up, to a large percentage, of the harvest of predecessors’ sins, both individual and national.

Young people should beware. Life is before them, may the day never come when God will allow one to look back and realize that sin has left the children a heritage, unworthy of their parents. Rather may it be that the children shall arise and call them blessed. Ezekiel 18:20 has to do with the final consequences of sin rather than hereditary consequences and does not weaken the force of Exodus 20:5.

Suffering Is Designed to Humble Us.

In Deuteronomy 8:2-3 the Lord tells us He suffered the children of Israel to hunger for a threefold purpose, one of which was to humble them. God loves humility, not humiliation. If one walks in his own strength, he will be humiliated because he will stumble, but if he would walk with God, he must humble himself. Failure to do this may lead God in His love to allow him to pass through a time of trial to humble him. God hates pride. One sometimes hears Christians ask God to make them humble, but if it is realized what this might involve, surely they would obey the royal command and “humble themselves.”

Suffering Tests to Prove Us.

The second reason given for allowing them to hunger was that God might prove them to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep His commandment or not.

How often when in trouble, God is dishonoured by grumbling instead of standing the test! God allows groaning but not grumbling, yet when put to the test, so often there is failure. When annoyed, the spirit of Christ is not manifested and it has been forgotten that God is watching to see “whether we would keep His commandments or no.” How different would have been the testimony of Hezekiah when the King of Babylon sent messengers to him had he not failed in the test: “God left him, to try him” (2 Chron. 32:31). Hezekiah said, “There is nothing among my treasures, that I shewed them not” (Isa. 39:4).

How much more to the Glory of God had he shown them the letter he “spread before the Lord,” or had taken them to the place where “the angel of the Lord slew 185,000 Assyrians in one night. How great would have been the impression on their minds! They would have returned and advised the King of Babylon never to march his army against Jerusalem, saying, “He will go up to the House of the Lord and pray and we shall all be slain by an angel before morning light.” He, however, failed.

The Chaldeans came and the city was destroyed, and of the King it was said, “But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up. Therefore there was wrath upon him.”

How easy to fail in the test!

Suffering Is Educational.

“He suffered thee to hunger —that he might make thee know”(Deut. 8:3). How many necessary lessons there are to learn, yet how slow we are to learn! David would never have ruled the Kingdom of Israel as he did, had he not first passed through the valley of affliction; nor would Joseph have been so sympathetic had he not been hurt in the fetters. Why did he not imprison his brethren when he had the opportunity? They deserved it, but he had himself been in the dungeon and knew the horror of it. Rather would he see their repentance.

Peter was a far greater man after he had learned his own weakness. Paul knew the power of God better by having the thorn in the flesh. It was in the Isle of Patmos that John was fitted to receive the Revelation of Christ.

An old lady on being asked when she became a Christian replied, “When I was in the hospital.” Another said, “I have thanked God hundreds of times for breaking my thigh.”

The Psalmist could say, “Before I was afflicted I went astray.” God teaches by allowing His people to pass through the school of sorrow.