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 question about God and human suffering

Dear SIers,

A long time family friend -- he is a devout father, upstanding Christian community member, firefighter, an athlete and all around good guy -- had a stroke four weeks ago in his brain stem. Apparently he has had a small hole in his heart since birth that went undetected all these years. (He is 45.) He is now completely paralized -- although his mental faculties are apparently unaffected -- and can only move his eyes and say yes or no. His prognosis is that he will remain this way and no recovery is expected by his doctors.

I am perplexed (as well as deeply saddened) and wondering, why God would subject him and his children, wife and friends to such a terrible condition?? I have been through some difficult times in the last year, but when I look back it is nothing at all compared to something like this. If anyone can shed some light, please do. Your prayers would also be appreciated by his family and myself. (His father inlaw is a Lutheran minister, just so you know.)


 2006/6/15 15:04

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: question about God and human suffering

I think this is all part of the 'if God is good and all powerful why did He allow...?' type of question. Any slick answer is bound to be wrong. At the time of the Tsunami I wrote this article here on SI. I called it [url=]a time to pause and think.[/url]

It doesn't provide any specific answers to any specific questions but assures us that God has not turned His back at these times. At such times [i][b]we[/b][/i] feel so far away and so helpless... but God is neither.

Ron Bailey

 2006/6/15 16:26Profile

Joined: 2004/6/15
Posts: 1924

 Re: question about God and human suffering

bro Bub
good to see you, you'd been gone for a while.

bro this issue you've brought up is one of the many seeming paradoxes of the Faith. There is nowhere in scripture where we're told that our whole life will be smooth sailing, in fact it seems to me the life of the Christian is a hard life, being at odds with the world but the grace of God is sufficient. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory and thus are subject to death since that is the wage of sin. This also opens the door to illness and so on.we are forgiven for our sins if we ask but we're not exempt from the consequences thereof. there is also another aspect to this revealed to us in the story of Job wherein the perpetrator of the evil was satan and the purpose was to get Job to curse God but God's plan was that He be glorified. at the end of it all, everything adds up in the plan of God to give Him glory. so whether this sickness judgement from God (while you may know him well, you may not be privvy to all the things God sees) and it may be or not, or if it is like in the case of Job wherein the enemy is at work to shake our brother's faith, at the end of it all, God will get the glory. we often think of ourselves as not being deserving of God's judgements because we look on ourselves rather favourably through our own eyes rather than those of God. if we did the latter, we'd see a very different picture of ourselves...also our definition of what is good, righteous or holy tends to be fashioned from our flesh and such a standard can't stand the light of God's own definitions of these things also. what we may see as being good, holy or righteous may then be really an abomination before God. we have to look at things from His perspective. as it pertains to judgment, a brother here said that we have an aversion to God's sense of justice, hence the harship with reconciling an eternity in hell for rejecting HIm. that got me thinking, every time i got a speeding ticket, i'd be mad at the cop who wrote it even though i had no business driving many of us really feel remorse or at least don't get mad at the cop when we get a ticket?

ultimately as Christians, our lives are not our own but the belong wholly to God and He may do with them as He pleases because each one of us is bought with a steep price. i don't know whether this is judgment (we can't rule it out unless the Lord expressly says it isn't, so if it is, repentance is in order) or if it's a test (then we can trust the Lord will see His servant through)

bro, the Lord is sovereign in all things and does as He sees fit whether we like it and agree, or hate it and disagree. at the end of the day we can be sure that He is seeking to glorify Himself in us and through us and His grace is sufficient.

praying a revelation of what God is doing in our brother for his family and you bro. AMEN.

Farai Bamu

 2006/6/15 16:31Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470

 Re: question about God and human suffering


I am so sorry to hear this about your friend. My heart goes out to the family, especially his wife. The grief and sorrow and questions she has to deal with are those most people hope they will NEVER have to cope with.

Bubba, our beautiful 25 YO daughter died of a glioblatoma - a brain tumor. She left behind a loving husband and two small children. She was ill for over a year before the LORD called her home. It was very hard for me to see her personality change from a vibrant, bubbly person to a quiet one who spoke and laughed little. These changes occurred because of the tumor in her brain stem and later in the brain itself. The point did come when I told the LORD to either heal her or take her home. Until this point she was annointed with oil three times, so we were obedient to the LORD in dealing with this infirmity. (Gina suffered from paralysis from her waist down for two months before dying. She also suffered very little pain. She took nothing for pain at all because she did not have any after she had a shunt inserted!! PTL!!!!)

Bubbaguy, I have no answers as to why God allows these things to happen. But I do know one learns dependence on the Almighty during times like this of the which you would never experience UNLESS you endured such a trial.

I did learn one thing: many people who have a child with a brain tumor/cancer resist advice on 'casting their burden on the LORD'. It seems as though many would rather pity themselves and blame God..they seem to derive a sense of satisfaction from it. Someone has said this: heat will soften a potato and the same heat will also harden an egg. So what are you? an egg or a potato?

Bubbaguy, Job asked the same questions. If you have a mind to, read it. The LORD led me to read the book before our DD was diagnosed and I was so blessed to see how Job dealt with these issues, issues which transcend time, cultures. It might help to read it in a more modern version, in any case study it and visualize what you are soon get the feel you just might know these fellows!

Early on I really struggled with our DDs illness. When Dr. Malcolm Field (Saginaw, MI) told me she would have only a few weeks left, I cried hard for two days. I was alone with my granddaughter during this time. I knew I could not endure this long and that I need to have this out with God. After putting her to bed, I got my Bible and spent a long time with God dealing with the whys, can't do it, and surrendering her to the grave. After this quiet time with the Lord I got a peace that defies logic. I knew if she would die, God's grace would be there to carry me through. In the meantime, she was still alive and we were to live each day to the full, appeciate it, and be thankful. If or when she died God will be there to carry me but in the meantime, do not worry about it. Sir, this is exactly what happened. The grace God gave me when she died was nothing short if the miraculous! Would you know I experience such incredible joy that God had LOANED her to us for 25 years that I could not sleep for hours!! (She died on a Sunday afternoon.) Bubbaguy, if I had not surrendered her to the LORD I would have missed out on the greatest blessing I have experienced in recent years! May God be praised!

Bubba, I shared my testimony in the hopes it will help you or anyone else who reads it. The point being that God knows all about it and when you surrender this situation to HIM, and do not fight HIM, but ask Him for grace to live each day, you will be in a situation where you will experience the grace and mercy of God in a fresh way.

May God richly bless you and in particular this ill man and his family,


PS: BTW, my nickname on this forum is the one we gave our DD when she was a child. :-)

Sandra Miller

 2006/6/15 23:09Profile


ginnyrose, philologos, and Ironman,

Thank you very much for your replies. They are all of great help to me. May God bless you.


 2006/6/16 10:26

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