Where Is God When We Suffer?

Updated 16th September 2018

At the time of writing this blog (in the last twenty six months I have experienced a number of debilitating ailments for varying conditions including contracting C.difficile, also had nine operations along with sixteen stays in hospital, having recently undertaken two heart operation in three months. Due to severe long term pain I have been diagnosed with severe axonal loss, and motor sensory polyneuropathy with a negative prognosis. I was born with a form of spina-bifada, and have chronic sleep apnea (use of ASV machine ventilator every night); it causes you to not doubt His word, but question how do I apply it and come through. This is not a cry for sympathy as I don’t require that, but a sharing of how I see we handle painful areas of our life.

Maybe you’re searching for God’s strength midst hurting in a situation, mental illness or chronic physical pain? Do you find yourself asking why God allows suffering in this world? Do people claim you must not have enough faith or there must be sin in your life, its a generational curse, question you as to what God is teaching you? Whilst it can not be denied these are in some instances factors that are known to influence and in certain cases be hindrances in us obtaining our healing, or change in circumstances. Let us be discerning in how we speak to people suffering remembering that God never inflicts sickness He only allows it. It is very easy inadvertently or intentionally to condemn someone rather than lift and encourage them to believe, and go through their painful sickness or situation.

Maybe your role as a good friend is to be a support in various ways that you are able, perhaps praying, being an encourager, keeping in contact, visiting etc: those who may be feeling vulnerable in their time of need. We know that God has said, Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”.God also uses people to be those who “I will never leave you” people as we can be His hands and His voice to those who are in need.

He will never leave us nor forsake us as that is His promise. Remember our feelings do not tell us the truth unless they align with His word. When they don’t align its us that need to change as His word is unchanging and sure.

There are some questions we do not have the answers to, and we along with others have not been given the spirit of presumption. You may ask then why doesn’t God heal all your ailments when you have experienced healing in a certain area like myself, or intervene in our painful situation and my answer is, “I don’t know”. So we continue to take Him at His word knowing that He died on the cross not only taking our sins but also our sickness and rest in an assurance that He is in control, and continue to pray in line with His word, believing that He is able to fulfill all of His promises. NailsIsaiah 53:5  “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” 

Isaiah 43:1-3a,4b “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.O Israel, the one who formed you says,“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour…you are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you.” 

There are times when we are encouraged and see Gods hand of intervention. When going in for the sixth operation I was told immediately before the operation that I was half way up a long motorway to recovery and would require several more operations. An MRI was to be arranged to plan the next step and possibly a temporary stoma. I came out of the operation to be told an amazing change had taken place and that I would not require any further operations and was discharged six weeks latter – That’s what God can do. Thank you Jesus!)

Faith is not denying reality. It’s not pretending the sickness or problem doesn’t exist. Faith is not saying, “I have no pain” when you have. It’s not saying, “I don’t have symptoms” when you do. That’s not faith; it’s sham! Faith is facing reality without being disheartened by knowing God is bigger than the issue.

There are those that “Deny issues. Just have a positive confession. Name it and claim it.” That kind of thinking did not come from Jesus. That’s sham, and sham is not a good theologian.

Faith is facing reality without being discouraged by it. You are aware that God can change issues. You can build on faith, but you can’t build on fantasy. You can build a business on faith, but not on fantasy. You can build a life on faith, but not on fantasy.

We acknowledge reality but apply faith. We recognise that He is in control and rest knowing it will be well. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen [the problem] is temporary, but what is unseen [God’s power] is eternal”. So we control our thoughts and bring them in line with His word and live by faith and reality. This takes the pressure off yourself from moving into sham and professing unreality. My reality is I have heart symptoms after my second heart operation that indicates it has not been a total success again.  Where I am at in my journey at this time is to endeavour to come to a place of peace and rest knowing I committed myself into His hands and safe keeping and continue to ask for healing to be accomplished, knowing that is His heart for me.

I have found that keeping communication with Jesus is vital, its called prayer. Spending time not only praying but listening to what He has to say. A vital part of this process is not just prayers to Him, but also taking time to listen to Him. Our attitude and conscious thinking of our situation can influence how you feel. Keeping focused on what God has said and pull yourself up when you start becoming negative. I know that is not easy when pain and frustration appear to overwhelm but make that our goal.

Israel Houghton singing his composition Every Prayer is encouraging.

Bless you my friend keep focused and remember His is faithful and you are loved. Hebrews 13:8 The Message For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”

UPDATE 16th September 2018

In addition to my existing conditions a medical concern became apparent and has resulted in a visit to the Neuro Surgeon who found I have no leg or arm reflexes and gave it a diagnosis of Severe Axonal loss, and Sensory Motor Polyneuropathy. She said nothing other than pain control can be given and I could quickly lose the use of my arms and legs, but it could take ten to fifteen years.  I subsequently had a nerve biopsy which indicated Severe Axonal Loss in the arms and legs. So why do I tell you this please understand it is not for sympathy but to share my heart with you. I have experienced miracles at the time of my heart scans taking place identifying the two leaking heart valves I had (and have that medical evidence) were now healed, and this came to light when having heart surgery; yet at that time not praying for that but the operation. That medically is not possible so a miracle took place. I had six operations for another condition and the surgeon discussed with me before my sixth surgery there was a strong possibility I would need a Stoma (Bag). On the operating table they found I was healed completely. I don’t know the answer as to why it appears partial healing took place of my heart and still needed to have two operations on it that were not totally successful; or why in my other condition healing only took place after I had the sixth operation? What I do know is Gods word does not change. What He did on the cross does not change. So I live in reality but know what He can do, and don’t get condemned or stewed up when it doesn’t appear to work; condemning myself or allowing others to impact me negatively with their offered or forced opinions. I rest and continue to do what I can taking medical advice, still knowing He is sovereign. The enemy, nor man can not take me out until He calls me to be with Him. In the process of whatever occurs I know He cares, and I will ask Him the questions when I see Him. Be realistic understanding Faith and Hope are two different things. Making a confession is not necessarily Faith so don’t be under pressure to say what you believe you should. Many Christians make mountains out of molehills and then spend the rest of their time trying to climb them. Walk in where you are at. Wherever that is He still loves you, s0 be encouraged in the tough times and know you are loved whatever the circumstance.

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3 Responses to Where Is God When We Suffer?

  1. David Roberts says:

    That was very encouraging and inspiring Ian, especially coming from someone who has suffered so much. There is so much about God’s love, grace and unconditional compassion that I often completely forget about, and genuinely feel unworthy and unloved due to my sometimes excessive sinful nature. I am still in Lynfield Mount hospital, and am amazed at the love, understanding and kindness which one sees from both the patients and staff. Bless you my friend.

    • Ian Deakin says:

      Thank you David for your kind comments. We are indeed unconditionally loved by God whatever our state or condition, and He greatly loves you David. I pray that you will feel better soon and return to a full recovery of good health.

  2. Linda Oram says:

    Hi Ian, I find that Christ is unconditional in every thing we cant put an end to God who is endless. In suffering I have been deeply hurt by those who preach that it is because of a fault in that person. Suffering is a part of being human, if Christ suffered for me then I cant moan to him if I suffer too. I know and have been reading and praying about your problems and I also know that God loves you very, very, much, its something that is personal and is seen too. You are an inspiration to many, my dear, stay with God in prayer xx

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