A Letter Regarding God’s Wonderful Plan and Suffering In the World

Letters and Thoughts

If you say that God has a wonderful plan for my life, what is his wonderful plan for the martyrs who are being tortured and slaughtered by ISIS? Or does he only have wonderful plans for white American Christians?

Dear Friend,

It’s hard to look on the world, as it is, and see the pain, suffering and sorrow of our brothers and sisters as they are persecuted, tortured and murdered for their faith. Yet, it’s nothing new, is it? In the early age of Christianity, how many of our dear brothers and sisters were sainted in the Colosseums or the crosses of Rome? How many were sent to their Heavenly home at the end of the task masters whip in Egypt? Living as we do, free to worship as we are and we believe, we sometimes forget that the history of faith is a history of captivity, bondage and martyrdom.

Out of our short memories can spring all sorts of false doctrines and false teachings. We can come to believe that somehow God owes us blessings, or that if life is hard you’re doing something wrong and you just need to change it. We can come to this notion that God is nothing more than this self-help guru seeking nothing more than to make you the best you by making you the most successful you.

Now none of this is to say that God doesn’t love you or want what’s best for you. Had He desired anything else Christ never would have come, nor would He have taken on the sins of the world. He most assuredly would have never suffered the torture and the torment of the cross, paying the price we would never be able to pay for our iniquities. Death and the Devil would still have their hold over us, because God would have never desired our freedom from it. Yet He did and He does in the wondrous miracle of His boundless love for us.

That though is the wondrous plan of the Triumphant, not of the temporal.

Nowhere in the Word of the Lord are we promised a happy and an easy life. In Jeremiah we hear God tell the prophet that He has plans for him, wondrous plans that he may prosper and not be harmed. (Jeremiah 29:11) Yet Jeremiah suffered for the truth he brought to Judah, and the nation itself fell at the hands of the Babylonians. The Apostle Paul prayed for the God who healed the lepers and rose the dead to remove from him the thorn in his side. His answer was that he would be made perfect in his suffering as God showed His grace to be sufficient for him. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

To proclaim that God’s chief concern is our worldly success, that His only plan is for us to live a life of comfort an ease amidst this world, is to preclude a host of saints and martyrs who took upon their shoulders the cross of Christ, and put them outside of God’s plans for them. St. John in exile, St. Paul in prison and executed, St. Peter crucified upside down, John the Baptist beheaded, the list goes on and on. They walked with the Christ, they saw His face, they knew His name, they preached His Gospel. Yet, the ultimate success of the wonderful plan that God laid out for them was not in this life. It was in the next.

God, a loving Father, doesn’t want His children to suffer, yet He doesn’t exclude the possibility of it happening either. As we are reminded in the temptation of Christ, the Devil has authority over a lost and sinful world, (4:1-14) we gave it to him at the first temptation when we fell amidst our vanity and our pride. Against God’s faithful he is going to wage his war to win souls. Against God’s children he will use torture and torment, death and destruction as his weapons. Yet, that is not his only tactic alone. The great deceiver and tempter, he will use our pride, our vanity and our blessings against us, subversively supplanting the Gospel of Salvation with the Gospel of Self, as we are taught of temporal salvation rather than Triumphant salvation as we forget the true lessons of Scriptures.

We are warned of this. In the fifth book of the prophet Moses, we are told that once we have our beautiful houses and our flocks have multiplied, once we have food enough to eat and we can look upon earthly wealth abounding, we will forget the Lord our God, who has delivered us from captivity and bondage and turn to false gods. (Deuteronomy 8:10-18) How we chose to turn from Him can be overt as we outright reject Him, turning to other gods, but it can also be more covert then that as we refashion and remold Him as if a god of gold and silver that can be recreated more to our liking. Both are equally dangerous to the soul.

So, to answer the question, God does have a wonderful plan for each of His children, and race does not equal grace. What we need to remember though is that God’s reward to His faithful isn’t of this world, it is of the next. Had He intended it to be anything but, Christ Himself would have taken on the crown of the earthly Kingdoms as the conquering King and ushered in Earthly prosperity. God has a focus on the soul and the salvation of all of His children that they may enter the only prosperity that matters, the prosperity of His Kingdom, that great and glorious land in which there is no more pain, no more sorrow or suffering or death.

That is what we must keep our hearts and minds in as we journey through and about this world, living for God, not goods.

I hope this helps. All the best in your journey through this world. May you find the answers you are looking for through it.

Cordially yours,

WJTM

SDG

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