For my theological minded readers, this post could be called Biking and God’s sovereignty. I don’t wish to compare cycling mishaps with much more difficult sufferings, but I hope you will see my point. Some of the below events are true and some are fabricated. I will not reveal which to protect my family from worrying. What is true is that I commute to work by bicycle in the mornings via darkness and in Atlanta traffic in the evenings.
One cannot always see a pothole in the road ahead that can be disastrous for a biker, but God can. Deer are beautiful animals but their sudden bursts of speed can be rather dangerous to a biker, since we are not in a 4000-pound killing machine. Does anyone understand why God created squirrels? Surely, He can stop them in their tracks for a split second to avoid impact. I am a careful rider; I have been a good person!
A biker must ride in the road going with traffic thus cars turning out of parking lots or at red lights can be quite an adventure, especially when a driver is in a hurry. One on a bike often can’t stop fast enough thus left with the alternative to try to speed up in hopes of being only hit on the back tire rather than in the middle of the bike where the body sits. God created physics. God can see an accident waiting to happen sooner than anyone else. He knows the rate at which the car is traveling and the rate I am traveling. To avoid an accident why can’t he inspire me to slow down ahead of time or the driver to slow down a split second to avoid a collision? Why can’t He give a driver a thought that faster is not always better?
Why doesn’t God prevent many sicknesses, financial woes, or relationship hurts? We know He is able. Lack of understanding or false expectations regarding God’s role in suffering may cause one to become angry with God, rather than receive the comfort He so ably can give in distress. We tend to underestimate how complex a free world is and the suffering that results. Suffering was never part of God’s original plan or some grand scheme. And suffering is suffering regardless of the magnitude or how many humans are impacted, so God would need to interfere constantly. There would be no freedom to speak of. It may come down to trusting whether God knows best how to deal with a free world.
Unfortunately, sometimes good may only come when suffering is allowed. Miracles often only turn heads but not hearts. Sudden rescues or divine interventions don’t always make us the kind of people we want to be. Insults can make us more sensitive to others in similar situations. Suffering can be our megaphone to better influence others about our God. Were more people influenced because Jesus came as a suffering servant rather than a ruling King?
If God loves me, why doesn’t God protect me? Maybe, I should be mad at God for preventing any suffering? The more pain I suffer the more I gain. If one doesn’t figure out God’s role when it comes to suffering, it can impact negatively our intimacy with our Creator. If we aren’t blaming God, we tend to assume God arranged the suffering perhaps to teach us a lesson. For some this doesn’t encourage much of a relationship with the Creator – always assuming He is looking to “get us.” Maybe we should become a little more sophisticated in our understanding how a free world and God get along.
We do not have to fear God losing control because sufferings are not caused or controlled by Him. Many find it much more comforting that God does not cause their suffering, that suffering is never God’s will, that God grieves when we suffer, that not even God avoided suffering though He could have, that God will walk hand-in hand with us through any tragedy, that God promises an end to suffering. God has conquered death. God forbid misunderstandings of God’s role in suffering drive people to unbelief or despair.