God’s Ultimate Interest
By Peter Lundell –
I grieve with many others at the triple tragedy in Japan, where I lived for eight years. How does a loving God allow so many people to suffer and die? Though the nuclear problem is man-made, the question is still painful. But we can get a good perspective.
Many people seem to have the idea that God’s purpose is our well-being—or that He is concerned about our happiness. Our happiness is important to us, and we naturally think it’s important to God too. But the Bible doesn’t say much about being happy. And God never promises to make us happy. That’s what heaven is for, and we’re not there yet.
Throughout Scripture God lets, even causes, people to die in astonishing numbers: 14,700 in Numbers 16; 24,000 in Numbers 25; 185,000 in 2 Kings 19; then there’s the Book of Revelation.
But God also says He cares for us and promises to bless us. Jesus came, showed endless compassion, and even died for us.
How do we reconcile those two extremes?
Here is my attempt: Yes, God cares for us and will bless us. But whether we’re blessed or not is secondary. I don’t mean God doesn’t care; He does. I mean our physical well-being is not His main interest. It appears to be secondary to God whether we even live or die. That’s hard to swallow, but both the Bible and the daily news tend to agree.
What’s primary then? Relationship. God is primarily concerned about our being connected with Him. And He will allow all things to happen if it helps to deepen that relationship. Throughout the Bible, God is focused on people turning to Him and growing in that relationship. When someone, anyone, cries out, “God!” He zeros in and says, “Yes? I’m here.”
May the whole world meet Him in its suffering.
PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see past hardship, to see You. Whatever I endure, I choose to draw near to You, never apart. And may I be Your witness to help others do the same.”
BIBLE VERSE: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. . . . I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 NIV).