Oh, what the hell. If I'm honest I'm only holding back replying because I know I will inevitably come back to this site at some point in the future, cursing like a sailor, being dreary and pessimistic about my own situation- showing how much my own faith ebbs and flows. I have struggled BIG TIME in the last several months with some very gravely serious sexual sins. I don't want to look like a hypocrite. Regardless of that, the truth is the truth, no matter who says it, so I'll just post this:
You are going through a season of doubt. And that is perfectly okay, Jacob. I just want to validate that. Only Christians who take their faith seriously ever scrutinize it. Not long ago I made almost exactly the same statement about God's answer to Job as you: "I'm God. So shut up and stop whining." That was how I looked at it.
Notice two things about Job, though. Notice one thing that is conspicuously absent from God's answer to Job. He never once mentions Satan. We have a personal enemy, who hates all of mankind. Hebrews 2:14 says he is the one "who holds the power of death". I now view God's answer differently. He was saying to Job "You don't understand everything that's going on behind the scenes". And that included Satan. Also, remember what God says at the end of Job.
"After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”"
He said Job HAD, IN FACT, spoken the truth about Him. That's a bit different than "Shut up and stop complaining about me". Then God inspired the book of Ecclesiastes, which echoes everything Job said in his complaints. God wants that all acknowledged. He commands us to "mourn with those who mourn". It shouldn't surprise us that He would do the same for us, and mourn with us. Look at the psalms. Much of the book of psalms is filled with doubt and anguish, misery, "Why, God?! WHY?!" but they always end on a note of faith- of saying "I don't understand, but I will trust you anyway". You really only have two options, in the end. Trust God, or turn your back on Him.
During your season of doubt, you may even blaspheme God, but thank God we're told by Jesus "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven you, except the blasphemy of the holy spirit [which is rejecting the gospel up to the bitter end of your life]". I've had to take a lot of comfort in that verse, because although I got saved at the age of 10, I spent many years in the last decade calling myself an agnostic and even vowing at one point to destroy Christianity. And believe me, I was very good at it. I rarely meet another person who knows the scriptures better than I do- rarely. Yes, I'm bragging. But I'm bragging accurately.
Jesus said "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father". Did you ever wonder if Peter stewed over those words after denying Jesus 3 times before men? Isogesis (isolating a single part of scripture by itself- instead of reading it in the light of the FULL counsel of scripture) leads to bad doctrine, and a lot of heartache. Maybe you'll spend a long time in this season of doubt, and maybe like Peter you will even go so far as to deny Jesus- a lot more than just 3 times. I did. Do you believe in Jesus? Did you ask Him into your heart at one point? I'm firmly convinced you are saved for good, then. Even if you go through years of anger and bitterness toward God. You'll come through on the other side, because He will not let go of you, and He'll see you through it.
Solomon wrote part of the truth, and acknowledged how miserable life in this world is. But by itself, Ecclesiastes is not the whole story. Jesus called Himself "One greater than Solomon". Solomon stopped short, because the Gospel hadn't yet been revealed.
I can't give you all the answers about the suffering of everyone on earth. I think there is evil all over the world you don't know about, but there is also good all over the world you also don't see. We're living on a battlefield. And there are forces for good, as well as evil. Paul said "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
My question to you is, are you asking this all about yourself, or are you asking it about others? If it's the latter, do you think you have the right to do that? Hold the suffering of others against God? It's a bit like when Peter asked Jesus (referring to John) “Lord, what about this man?” and Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” What is the suffering of others to you? What right do you have to hijack it in order to be pissed off at God?
If it's your own suffering you're wondering about then, again, I'd just say (as difficult as it is to believe- for ANY of us) the sufferings of this world aren't worth comparing to what's awaiting for us in eternal glory after we die. This life is like "a bad night in a cheap motel" to paraphrase Mother Theresa. It's so easy to lose sight of that. Especially when you have the world (under the power of Satan) screaming at you constantly that this life is all there is, and you're a fool not to give its pains and pleasures supreme weight. Do you believe that? Is this life all there is? Do you really believe that?
The reason God doesn't intervene to prevent every tragedy in this present age is because, for the time being, "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [that is, satan]". For the time being he has authority over this world. Not absolute authority, but he has authority to cause death and suffering, and to stir up fallen man who, without Christ, has only the sin nature, to commit heinous acts, like child sexual abuse. I will go a step further and say that even Christians, because they still have the flesh, can so give themselves over to their flesh that even they can commit such acts against children. God can, and does often, take the lives of believers who stubbornly refuse to stop sinning, and they will still be saved but "as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15).
You need to really see that we have a personal enemy (Satan and demons) and an enemy within us (sin), as well as the fallout of the original sin (death), and these are the cause of the suffering Solomon speaks of. If you don't see this clearly, you will continue to view everything on the wrong level. God is not powerless, but in the present age, sin and the evil one have the title deed to this world. It wasn't until Jesus came and the Holy Spirit wrote the new testament that God began to tell us plainly about what is going on behind the scenes.
When you've been through what you've been through, churches can be very frustratingly naive. Many don't understand CSA or the struggles it leaves us with. But God sees all of that. It's like the parable of the widows mite. She gave all she had (the smallest coin at that time) and the people of her "church" (synagogue) saw it as pathetic. But God saw it as her giving all she had. And He doesn't see you the way man sees you. He sees you with the very heavy weight on your back, that is invisible to everyone else. He sees the effort it takes just to believe. And He highly values it.
Sorry for being so long-winded.
Edited by Life's A Dream (05/19/13 07:41 AM)