Avoiding the highest infidelity
Is bad news part of the good news? PART 1

Is bad news part of the good news? (Part 2)

By Joe Kovacs

image from www.studentnewsdaily.comWelcome back, friends!

In the previous message, I listed some catastrophic news events that would make anyone's heart ache for those who were the victims. From raging wildfires that completely destroy lives and homes, to losing many members of one's family in a boating tragedy, to having all limbs amputated after a man's own dog licked him.

Bad news happens, and it can happen to both good folks, and not-so-good folks. And as can be found in the Bible, God Himself is behind many instances of mayhem.

But questions often arise: "Why on Earth would God cause people to suffer?" "If God loves people, why doesn't God stop the suffering?"

If we fast-forward to the end of the Good Book, there will be a time in the future when there is no more pain and suffering. It will be when the kingdom of God is in charge and God is dwelling with His own people here on Earth.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 CSB)

Obviously, that time has not arrived yet.

We still live in a fallen world where millions of people follow the drumbeat of the enemy of God, Satan the devil, whether or not they're aware of it. Sometimes people's own actions breaking God's laws cause their own pain and suffering, and sometimes God causes disasters to happen to people as attention-getters, to cause them to examine their own lives, in hopes that they'll repent of their wrongdoing and correct their character to get with the program of eternal life.

Remember, we're all on a track toward eternal death unless we stop our disobedience to God and start living by His instructions. As Jesus said twice, "Unless you repent, you will all perish as well." (Luke 13:1-5 CSB)

This brings up a very interesting question, because there are millions of people who have been living according to God's instructions and worship Him with all their heart, and yet they still experience serious pain, suffering and hardship throughout life. You may be one of them, and could be nodding your head in agreement as you read this.

The biblical fact of the matter is that yes, indeed, there is suffering and hardship in this life, even for those who are on God's team.

Perhaps the most famous example is a man named Job. An entire book of the Bible focuses on this righteous man who pleased God in everything he did. God even showed off Job to the devil because of the man's faith and obedience:

Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil." (Job 1:8 CSB)

Satan then convinced God to test Job severely, taking away his possessions, killing his sons and daughters, and even plaguing his personal health:

So Satan left the LORD's presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself while he sat among the ashes. (Job 2:7-8 CSB)

Job's wife asked him if he were trying to maintain his integrity through his ordeal, and suggested that he curse God and die.

But Job replied, "You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. (Job 2:10 NLT)

The response from Job is profound to say the least. Because people, especially believers, often do not know precisely WHY they're going through any given hardship. Sometimes God does punish people as a corrective measure, to prompt them to repent of some disobedience, which may or may not be obvious.

But there are other times when God is testing people to see if they will be obedient to Him, no matter what is thrown at them. It's easy to be thankful to God when everything is going splendidly in life, but it's not as easy to be thankful to God when we're suffering.

Everyone should dwell for a moment on what Job asks: Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?

Again, bad news does happen in life, and often it is caused or allowed by our Maker. Sometimes we can figure out the reason and sometimes we can't, but we are still meant to praise and worship God because it is He who is in control of all things. Good and bad. Here's a direct quote from God that is rarely, if ever, mentioned:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7 KJV)

It stuns many people to realize the Almighty outright declares He can and does create evil.

Not only can times of testing and hardship be meant for an individual, they can also be intended for an entire people. Recall how the whole nation of Israel, upon their departure from Egypt, spent four long decades in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. God says He was TESTING their character:

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT)

All throughout the Bible, believers are shown to be tested in a variety of ways, including famines, imprisonment, medical issues, physical beatings and even being nailed to wood in the case of the strongest Believer of all time. Yes, Jesus Himself had to undergo testing and suffering.

It surprises many who come to the faith that God does not promise a problem-free life here on Earth as we prepare for immortality.

In the New Testament, the theme of being tested is mentioned numerous times, with believers being told they should not be surprised by any trial or tribulation coming their way:

Dear friends, don't be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12 NASB)

Instead, be very glad -- for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
(1 Peter 4:13 NLT)

A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12 HCSB)

In our current human form, it can seem counterintuitive to accept what the Bible plainly says when it comes to times of testing and suffering. Because pain hurts, whether it's physical, emotional or spiritual. But when we keep in mind the end result of suffering, it can make a difference in enduring whatever it is we're going through.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18 NLT)

We must keep in mind the end of the story, which involves our being raised from the dead and being given new, transformed bodies that will never die or ache again.

That is why Scripture tells us to be happy through the trouble:

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT)

We all experience pain. We all suffer. We all know it can be horrible at times. But we can make it through with God's help.

It is imperative that we hold on to God's promise of an eternal existence free of pain and suffering. Remember what is on its way:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 CSB)

For those who wonder whatever happened to Job, he did not continue suffering without end. He received what could be called a double blessing:

When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! (Job 42:10 NLT)

So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. (Job 42:12 NLT)

When we read and accept what God says throughout the entirety of Scripture, it's obvious that bad news is part of the good news. But the good news is so much better, and it leads to an eternal life free of any more pain. Hallelujah!

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
Joe Kovacs is the author of the new book Shocked by the Bible 2, as well as his previous books Shocked by the Bible and The Divine Secret, all on sale in bookstores and Amazon.com. Learn more at www.shockedbythebible.com

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