God’s Agenda and Human Suffering
16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. —Romans 8:16-19
We’re starting out this new year looking at the central idea that affects all of life—God’s agenda. Now God’s agenda is not the happiness of man. God is not up in heaven pacing back and forth figuring out how He can make my life and your life happier. If either one of us is unhappy, it’s not God’s fault, because how we’re feeling at any particular moments is not His job.
Now I believe that God has laid out a path for living and there is blessing and joy in obedience to the Lord. But God is not up in heaven worrying about how to make your day better. People who believe this eventually get very disillusioned with God and say to themselves, “Well, if God wants me to be happy, why won’t He advance my career or give me the family that I want?” God’s agenda in this world is not human happiness.
I think even harder to realize is that God’s concern in this world is not to relieve human suffering. A lot of people think, “Well, surely an all-powerful God who can do whatever He wants is gonna invest His omnipotence in relieving human pain.” Question: could God relieve all human suffering if He wanted to? Yes, absolutely. Why doesn’t He? Well, contrary to what we think, suffering is not one of God’s enemies; suffering is one of God’s tools. It’s one of the primary means God uses for perfecting our character and bringing glory to Himself. The things we want out of our life, God doesn’t want out of our life. God has allowed those things to come along.
Have you ever noticed how Christians go through the exact same experiences as non-Christians do? Christians lose a job, have problems in their families, and get diseases. And God is all fired up about the difference between Person A, who’s going through suffering without Him, and Person B, who’s going through suffering with Him. He wants the world to take notice. We’re starting to zero in on God’s agenda when we begin to understand that God is not opposed to human suffering. — James MacDonald
· As I consider God’s agenda in this new year, how would I describe my enthusiasm about being fully onboard with what God plans to do in and through my life, no matter what else might be going on?
· Are there any fears I need to confess to the Lord going forward?
Prayer - Father, You are Lord! You are in charge. And while I know I will not understand all that You allow into my life, I long to be an obedient servant through whom You can display Your glory despite my shortcomings, weaknesses, and sin. You demonstrate who You are because You can work even through someone like me. Thank You Father, for rescuing me from purposelessness and giving me a hope that can make each day an offering to You. I declare these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.