If God Loves me then Why do I Suffer? (A Devotional based on Paul’s Journey to Rome in Acts 27-28)
You may be going through a rough patch in life right now and you're wondering what is the purpose behind your suffering.
In this post, I will be sharing why God allows our suffering and His divine plans for your future.
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In Acts 27-28, the Apostle Paul is being escorted to Rome by a Roman regiment because he appealed to Caesar concerning a dispute that arose between him and the Jewish leaders.
It turns out that this journey to Rome was not meant to be smooth sailing. You know how we always hope that life will be free from problems and that somehow we'll never have to experience any pain or loss?
What Paul was about to experience depicts the moment when we realize that it is just our wishful thinking.
“saying, “Men, I sense [after careful thought and observation] that this voyage will certainly be a disaster and with great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” However, the centurion [Julius, ranking officer on board] was persuaded by the pilot and the owner of the ship rather than by what Paul said. Because the harbor was not well situated for wintering, the majority [of the sailors] decided to put to sea from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. So when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had obtained their goal, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, hugging the coast.” (ACTS 27:10-13 AMP)
During the journey to Rome, the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to warn the centurion and his soldiers about a coming disaster that would happen to them if they did not heed God's warning.
The centurion did not listening to Paul's advice, and instead chose to trust in the so-called 'expert' advice from the pilot and the owner of the ship.
After all, Paul wasn't a pilot or sea-man - how was he to know better than them right? Well, the centurion was wrong.
When I think back to times in my life after I became a believer in Jesus when terrible things happened, it was mostly because I ignored the prompting in my spirit and acted based on my reasoning or experience instead.
When a decision you want to make feels right in your heart, as a believer you can trust that because God has put a new heart in you from the moment you were saved, and the Holy Spirit guides you from your heart.
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My ordinances and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26-27 AMP)
The problem comes when a decision is not so straightforward to make. If you go by the mind's reasoning and logic, it seems like a really good offer to take, but yet your spirit is telling you "No, there's something wrong with this".
It's those moments that we have to consciously choose to trust the spirit and not our mind.
“There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, But its end is the way of death.” (PROVERBS 14:12 AMP)
When we follow our mind, things mess up - we cannot see the future with our limited brain, but God can see everything, from beginning to end.
We must trust that God has our interests at heart and He's not just trying to spoil our fun.
However, the good news is, even when we choose wrongly and follow our mind instead of our spirit, God's grace will still catch us when we fall.
“and when the ship was caught in it and could not head against the wind [to gain stability], we gave up and [letting her drift] were driven along. We ran under the shelter of a small island [twenty-five miles south of Crete] called Clauda, and with great difficulty we were able to get the ship’s skiff on the deck and secure it. After hoisting the skiff [on board], they used support lines [for frapping] to undergird and brace the ship’s hull; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis [off the north coast of Africa], they let down the sea anchor and lowered the sails and were driven along [backwards with the bow into the wind]. On the next day, as we were being violently tossed about by the storm [and taking on water], they began to jettison the cargo; and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle (spare lines, blocks, miscellaneous equipment) overboard with their own hands [to further reduce the weight]. Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm kept raging about us, from then on all hope of our being saved was [growing worse and worse and] gradually abandoned.” (ACTS 27:15-20 AMP)
When we choose to trust ourselves instead of God's wisdom, the negative consequences of our choices are unavoidable.
The gift of free will that God gave man has to mean something. If our choices don't change the consequences, then the free will is just a big lie.
Many times when we are suffering, we are still so stubborn that we want to fix the problems ourselves. We don't want to get God involved immediately.
This reminds me of recent times when I was sleep training my 2 year old daughter Maeleth. When I relied on my 'smarts', experience and efforts to make it work, things just got worse and nothing was accomplished.
But when I told God that I couldn't do this myself and that I needed Him, the deliverance came swiftly. You can read the full story of the sleep training journey and how it grew my faith here.
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Hi I’m Milton Goh, I'm 28 years old and i'm a blogger who writes about Christianity, Parenting, Life Lessons that I learn from Movies/Shows, and Lifestyle.