Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Grief

Why God Permits What He Does
by Randy Alcorn

Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and
all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house.
And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil
that the LORD had brought upon him.
JOB 42:11 (ESV)

When our ministry, Eternal Perspectives, posted Nanci’s words, “My cancer is God’s servant,” someone responded “WHAT? God does not give people cancer. Jesus bore our sicknesses and carried our pains on the cross.”

That reader is not alone in trying to distance God from suffering. But by saying sickness comes only from Satan and the fall, not from God , we disconnect Him from our suffering and His deeper purposes. God is sovereign. He never permits or uses evil arbitrarily; everything He does flows from His wisdom and ultimately serves both His holiness and love.

Joni Eareckson Tada often shares the words of her friend, Steve Estes: “God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” God’s “permitting” something is far stronger than it may sound. After all, whatever God permits actually happens; what he doesn’t permit doesn’t happen.

In the final chapter of Job, God reveals that Job’s family and friends “showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). The author told us from the beginning that Job’s troubles were Satan’s idea and actions. Yet the inspired wording indicates Satan’s efforts were, indirectly, by sovereign permission, God’s own doing. Many find this truth disturbing, but properly understood, it should be comforting. What should be profoundly disturbing is the notion that God stands by passively while Satan, evildoers, diseases, and random accidents ruin the lives of His beloved children.

Charles Spurgeon suffered terribly from depression, gout, rheumatism, neuritis, and a burning kidney inflammation. Yet he said, “It would be a very sharp and trying experience for me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me … that my trials were never measured out by Him, nor sent to me by His arrangement of their weight and quantity.”

Written with permission by Randy Alcorn
and Eternal Perspective Ministries.

Excerpts taken from Randy Alcorn’s Blog.
Please learn about Randy’s new booklet to
be released this summer, Grieving with Hope.

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky