Ephesians 6:8 “Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.”
I started this post, because I’ve been thinking a lot about whether embracing God and obeying his laws guarantees you are rewarded with good things and nothing bad can happen to you. I’ve questioned this a lot even after a year ago finding a comment on a facebook page by a Christian woman who posted that her husband is leaving her filing for divorce despite the fact she forgave him when he cheated on her and was emotionally abusive, but decided to except the divorce. However, one commenter who disagreed with her decision responded that if she obeyed God’s laws he would reward her. I’m assuming she was suggesting that if she stayed faithful to God and follow his will, he will reward her by restoring her marriage, but what if that didn’t happen? I find myself coming back and forth whether obeying God’s commands promises the believer under his protection and blessed with only the good out of life.
I read several cases of Christians claiming how they prayed to God, obeyed his will and he healed their diseases or any handicaps, restored their marriages, protected them from tragedy by it death or other injuries. Many will turn to the verses such as Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him”. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known”. But what about those who obey God’s words, pray and read the bible everyday, attend church regularly and yet receive many sufferings including, illness, loss, tragedy, divorce and even death. In fact, many bad things occur to those who follow Christ over the past centuries and still occur today. I have read stories of Christian aid workers being killed abroad in Middle Eastern and African countries or Christians in these countries be persecuted for their religious beliefs. Even in Western countries, there are accounts of scandals in the church involving sexual abuse, murder sometimes involving church leaders. The bible even mentions plenty of righteous people suffering and being oppressed while the wicked prosper with riches and privileges. In the book of Job, Job was righteous man who was blessed by God, who then decided to test his devotion by allowing the Devil to cause him suffering, losing his wealth, his home, his children and his health to deteriorate. The martyrs mentioned in the bible who were crucified including some of Jesus twelve apostles such as Simon Peter, Phillip and James, as well as Saint Stephen, the first martyr, Mark the Evangelist and
. Saint Paul
Throughout the ancient early centuries and the later centuries there is a history of saints and heroes/heroines who were martyred for their faith and of course Jesus himself was unjustly persecuted and later crucified on the cross. The fact remains, many people who spend their lives doing righteous and honorable deeds experience suffering, persecution and even killed because of it, while those who commit wicket and selfish acts may go unpunished for their misdeeds and may being benefit from it through riches and other privileges. Although I don’t believe God wants good people to suffer, the reality is that life is not always fair or easy and the Lord is aware of that. He allows people to have free will to turn against him and give into Satan’s will by oppressing or committing heinous acts on others, deserting their spouses and families break the law or harm themselves with irresponsible and destructive actions like addiction, smoking tobacco too much, neglecting their health until it’s too late. Or sometimes suffering such as illness or diseases happen to good righteous people just because these things are reality in our fallen world where such things exists. God doesn’t cause illnesses or any suffering to teach anyone a lesson but allows them to happen for whatever reason whether to test or challenge us although I myself can’t really come up to any simple answers to this. Now I want go back to the old question regarding embracing God and obeying his will and how this doesn’t always rewards us from never experiencing any pain and suffering.
Despite the myth that God will always reward us with his protection from anything negative in our lives this just isn’t true or realistic and would be foolish to always think that way. I think the real rewards are that God will never leave us throughout any suffering or turmoil in our lives. He will be there for us through it all and if we turn to him he can help us overcome any battles in our lives whether it is the lost of spouse or relative, a divorce, losing your job, your wealth or home, becoming penniless, terminal or non-terminal illness, being a victim of brutal crime or your life is in physical danger at the moment. As we reach out to him, he stands by us and gives us the strength to overcome any obstacles, to heal from any physical or emotional pain. Also he doesn’t allow our hearts to be hardened or give up hope, that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we can find peace and happiness throughout all the strife even if that means sometimes healing our sufferings and give us peace is through death. Also at other times, by allowing suffering in our lives, God can strengthen us in ways that we never experience, which could lead us use our strengths that will benefit us or others in the future as we gain new perspectives. Of course, sometimes it is possible that God will bless us by curing any illnesses, restoring our abilities from any handicap, save us from any financial ruin and bring us luck any other ways. Sometimes the Lord does allow miracles to happen in one’s life, however why he allows it for some and not others know one can explain.
Rather than over analyze my he allows bad, pain and suffering into our lives, he should just be aware that in this fallen world these things will occur and sometimes we don’t get the outcomes that we want no matter how many times we beg and pray to the Lord. However, we should be aware of the fact that the biggest reward God can give us by having our own personal relationship with him as he becomes our strength and our guide or our rock in a time of need who will never abandon us as long was we have faith in him.