While the four-star generals plan their theater operations in the Pentagon, the ground troops carry out the actual missions in the conflict. A company’s board of directors decide which products they will carry. However, it is the men and women with specialized skills in other departments who carry out the orders. The judge hands down the prison sentence, but the sheriff, warden, and prison staff carry out the actual incarceration.
In the same way, God often chooses to work through people under him. For instance, he worked through Moses, King David, Jesus, and the apostles. He still works through people today.
He works through several Christian organizations established to battle poverty. He works in the tiny soup kitchens many churches run to help the poor in their communities. Through them, many children receive food, clothing, shelter, toys, and the message that God loves them. God IS stopping some suffering.
This does not take into account the people working hard to get children adopted, build AIDs orphanages in Africa, help drug and alcohol addicts, rescue sex slaves, and transform children’s lives that were ruined by crime.
God did not starve the children, nor cause riots and tortures. Evil people do all these things, and Christians do what they can as willing servants of God to right wrongs and relieve suffering.
Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17b). Jesus saw what the Father was doing and he did the same. Whenever Jesus did good, God worked through him: “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst” (Acts 2:22b). Many have blamed God for all the wrongs in the world. We can blame God all we want, but we would do better to surrender to God’s will, sign up with a charitable group, roll up our sleeves, and get to work. Then we’ll find God working right where we are!
It is still the same today. God is not lazy or impotent. He is working. Paul could say it and so can many Christians today: “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29).
I have heard it said that suffering improves one’s character. (For instance, the pain we bear as the result of a bad decision trains us to avoid that kind of a decision next time.) If you believe this is true, name one example in your life or in the life of someone you know when suffering improved character.
Some people bear suffering patiently with gentleness while others endure the same trouble with bitterness and depression. If some have borne the trial well, was the trial to be blamed? What are the reasons for your answer?