God is very unique in how He expresses His love.
For me personally, I’d rarely ever do something that would put me on bad terms with someone, even if perhaps doing so would be for their own good. And if I could, I would prevent my family and friends from ever facing trials. Or I’d at least make all of their decision for them, instead of letting the burden of making choices fall on their shoulders.
God loves us more than anyone, yet He allows so much pain into our lives, so many trials. Why? Doesn’t He love us? And why make bad things happen to everyone? Is that fair?
I’ve come to the conclusion that the trials we face are actually proof of God’s love, not momentary lapses in it. Even if putting us through something would cause us to rant, and rave, and yell at Him, He’d do it for our benefit. And I say “He’s willing” as if this is something hard for God. It is. Part of love is feeling for someone. When someone I love is sad, I’m sad. When they’re happy, I’m happy.
-Love Hurts by Nazareth
The nature of love is that it’s painful at times. The first round of chickens my family had died. We came home one day and found them torn apart by the neighbors’ dogs. When we got chickens again, I didn’t claim one as mine or really think about its name. I chose not to love it, because frankly I wasn’t willing to pay the price that loving something costs. My little sisters went ahead and named their chickens and spent time outside playing with them. Of course, those chickens died. While I was a bit sad but overall indifferent, my sisters were heartbroken.
Imagine what this means for God. He suffers through everything with us. Trials not only cause us pain, but it causes Him pain as well. Love isn’t easy. It costs us something, and it amazes me how much pain God would have to endure in order to love everyone. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to love everyone if I were God, but I guess that’s part of what makes Him God.
Unlike me, God is willing to do anything for your ultimate benefit… even if that means it could cost Him His relationship with you.
For example, if I knew something would help my friend, but I stayed silent because I was worried about risking my relationship with her, then that’s selfish. It’s almost like I care more about the relationship than about her.
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
-Matthew 5:45, NIV
God loves everyone, and so He gives everyone the same opportunities. He allows both good and bad people to go through trials. If He only allowed bad people to go through things, He’s be cutting the good people short.
And ultimately, though the trials we go through could damage our relationship with God, it’s ultimately our choice. God can present us with trials, but it’s our job to grow from them.
It reminds me of a story I mentioned in an earlier blog post, about an alcoholic and his sons:
There were two young men, brothers. Their father had been a severe alcoholic. One man was also a severe alcoholic. When asked why, he said, “Because my father was an alcoholic. Why wouldn’t I be?”
The second man had never touched alcohol. When asked why, he said, “Because my father was an alcoholic. Why would I be?”
Everyone goes through trials, whether it’s in the form of a breakup, disappointment, moving, divorce, or deaths of loved ones. We’ve all heard stories of something terrible happening to someone, so they turn their life around and discover God was with them all along, and they claim He helped Him through the rough spots in life.
And we’ve all heard stories of people experiencing terrible tragedies before they lose their faith and blame it on God. After all, if God loved them, then would He have put them through that?
A better question is: Why wouldn’t God have put them through that?
Though we want to save loved ones from every difficulty in life, God is willing to let them go through trials that could potentially destroy their faith or renew it like never before. If He saved us from difficulties, we’d grow up to be spoiled brats with surface-level faith. I can tell you that the strength of my faith has been born out of desperation. I’ve learned to have faith in God when I’m at the end of my rope, when I’m in pain, when I’m sick, tired, and simply can’t take anymore. With each trial, I have an opportunity to let it break me or make me into the person I’m supposed to be.
What’s my point?
If you’re in pain right now, or have been, or will be, it’s not a sign that God’s abandoned you, forgotten about you, or punishing you. It means that He loves you.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction.
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
-Proverbs 3:11-12, NKJV
God loves everyone, and so He of course gives everyone the same opportunities. All you have to decide is: will this trial make you or break you?