When God “Rightly” Hurts Us

The Scripture is full of times when God watched and allowed his children to be hurt.

Remember God’s sovereignty. He really is the omnipotent, omniscient, everywhere present King. God really is in control of everything. He foreordains all that comes to pass. Do not listen to your fleshly heart. Do not entertain the lies of Satan. Forget the theologians who presented an impotent God who is powerless to interfere. God is sovereign.

 

The Scripture is full of times when God watched and allowed his children to be hurt. Pharaoh and the Egyptians hurt the Israelites. Satan buffeted Job, and Saul troubled David. Saul of Tarsus hurt the church, and the Roman Empire hurt Paul. God was present; at any time he could have stopped the hurt. More than this, God saw it coming and could have sent the pain on a detour. He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

In addition, the Scripture is full of times when God actively hurts his sons and daughters. Adam, Eve, and their children received harsh discipline from the Lord. Numerous barren mothers saw God as the one who afflicted them. And the supreme example of God hurting his children is seen on Golgotha; there God hurt his Beloved Son with intense severity.

There is no doubt about it — the eternal, sovereign, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Father of agape-love allows and/or causes all pain that affects his sons and daughters. However, it helps me to draw a distinction between “hurt” and “harm.” Doing so allows me to make the following declaration:

While God often allows and/or causes his children to hurt, he neverharms them.

For the believer, all hurt is beneficial. All their hurt is for God’s glory, and this is the greatest desire of their reformed heart. In addition, all the hurt they experience is for their ultimate good. Somehow God makes their hurt helpful; it is never for their harm.

However, that being said, there are still many tears to cry, and this is understandable, allowable, righteous, and Christ-like. Job, Hannah, and David showed us how to righteously lament in the Old Testament. Jesus modeled this for us in the New. Sure, there will be times when we can find ourselves supernaturally singing in chains in prison cells; there is a peace that passes understanding. However, there are also times when we will find ourselves pouring forth tears in caves, churches, gardens, and attached to crosses.

Therefore troubled friends, what ought you do today as you are being hurt by or before God?

  • Remember God’s sovereignty. He really is the omnipotent, omniscient, everywhere present King. God really is in control of everything. He foreordains all that comes to pass. Do not listen to your fleshly heart. Do not entertain the lies of Satan. Forget the theologians who presented an impotent God who is powerless to interfere. God is sovereign.
  • Remember God’s wisdom. Nothing is purposeless. He always does what is best for his glory and his people. He is the one who knows the end from the beginning. He hurtson purpose for a purpose.
  • Remember God’s love. He watches and cares. He even cries over and with you. And your Father will not leave you or forsake you as he walks you down his predetermined path of pain. Once again, do not listen to the lies of Satan; God cares for you more than you care for you.
  • Lament! Run to the One who causes or allows your “hurt” and have a tear-filled conversation with your Father. In respect, let him have it. Yell to him. Call out to your Father and ask him anything you wish. Be like Jesus and ask him if he wishes to take the cup from you. Be like Jesus and ask him why he seems to have forsaken you. Use the inspired words of the Psalmist and ask him “why” and “how long.” Be a courageous Christian and cry a river of tears. And as you do so, perhaps the following prayer can be of assistance to you. These words were written by a German poet in 1676, and they are fantastic applicable today. A printed version of the words is below. A link to a musical rendition is here.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my Physician sends me.
My God is true; each morn anew
I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.

Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.