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Where is God in the pain? When children cry, their parents run to them, why doesn't God run to us when we cry?
Thank you for your honest question about suffering.
We can take encouragement when Paul tells us that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
First of all, it tells us that God is PRESENT with us to work out His purpose. A problem we may have when we are suffering is that we don't necessarily feel His presence. I can only say to this that the test of His presence is not how we feel, but what is actually true.
Sometimes Christians are taught that their feelings are a good test because through our feelings we can know the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. There is some truth in this, in that one fruit of the Spirit includes peace. However, we also have minds, and when we wrestle with issues our conflict can become 'noisier' than that underlying sense of peace. Not only that, feelings are dreadful liars. For example, we can feel dreadfully depressed about our lives just because we have a cold!
Can we then trust that God is present? Yes, because of all that Paul says in Romans 8:28 and onwards. It teaches us that He has a great plan that He DOES work out in our lives of choosing us, predestining us, calling us to salvation, 'justifying' us - making us right with Himself in Christ, and glorifying us. As far as God is concerned it is a settled fact that our salvation is complete.
Paul can say in this passage how certain he is that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).
A second thing to take from this passage is that God has a definite purpose and it will be accomplished in our lives. However, it is not that everything will go well, but rather that His work of grace in us will reach completion, including our future eternal existence as a glorified believer. Then our bodies will be recreated without suffering and death, but here and now we are fallen people living in a fallen world, so that the consequences of that reality affect our bodies and our circumstances even after we are born again.
The terrible truth is that God's answer to the Fall is not to give us 'everything now' but salvation now and answers to prayers when they conform with His plan. Perfection will only come when Jesus returns to recreate the heaven and earth. That means we can get illnesses and die, for we all have to die of something. I know that God answers prayer and does heal people, but although we can pray with confidence in God we cannot prayer with presumption that He will do what we want.
The last thing we can take from this passage is that God takes evil and transforms it into His servant. It is in all things that God works for our good. That includes evil things that happen to us and even the consequences of the evil we do ourselves. I find this very comforting. Evil cannot win or have the last word. God has already spoken it - those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30).
In summary, all the time, God is present, working with His loving purpose for us, and dedicates His sovereign power to rescuing us from this fallen world to take our place in a new creation for all eternity. It may not feel like that now, but we have to make a choice between believing our feelings and believing the reality of God and putting our lives in His hands.
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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