God’s Sovereignty in Suffering

Trusting God when we are suffering

This past Sunday we were in Mark 1:29-39.  In this passage, we saw Jesus demonstrate his authority over the physical and the spiritual.  He healed Peter’s mother-in-law right after the Sabbath service and later that evening the people of Capernaum brought to him masses of sick people and the demon oppressed and he healed them all!

But then Jesus did something strange.  As the people clamored for his healing touch the next day he left.  Why?  Because Jesus had a priority.

Jesus's priority then, as it is today, was to preach the word, the kingdom of God.

His priority is establishing and growing the health status of people’s eternal relationship with God.  And as difficult as it is to say, sometimes our immediate healing or the healing of others is not the best means of doing that.

Sometimes the most loving thing Jesus does for us is allow us to suffer because it either leads us to salvation or draws our relationship closer to God.

Now on one hand one may hear this truth and be extremely discouraged.  But I find this extremely encouraging.

For one, I can think back on all the prayers for healing that God did not answer the way I wanted and know that it wasn’t the fact that he couldn’t heal or didn’t hear me, but that He knew better than me.

Two, this reminds me of who is really in control.  And some may say, “What’s so good about that?”  Well, if God were at my beck and call, then I would be above God.

Just think about how horrible that would be. Us, being so limited in knowledge and wisdom, deciding what God should do instead of God who has ultimate knowledge and wisdom, making the perfect decisions.

God saying "no", or "wait" is encouraging because it reminds us that we have a leader that leads.

Three, it demonstrates the infinite wisdom of God.

Romans 5:3 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Yes, healing can also be the means of these blessings.  But our God is so wise and knows us so well he is able to choose which will be the most beneficial for us. 

Fourth, this truth is encouraging because I am a visual learner.  When we see someone going through difficultly with their health and they face it trusting that God is at work no matter the outcome it is a powerful means of encouragement.  My mom was this type of person.  Her trust in God was relentless despite her suffering and even though it was painful to see I will forever be encouraged by her testimony.

What a tremendous Savior we have.  At times He heals and at times He has the love and wisdom not to heal for just the right reason - the establishment or growth of our relationship with Him.