Why Doesn’t God Take This Away?
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. . . But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
I often write of the part we play in causing our own misery. We all have self-destructive behaviors from which we cannot begin to recovery until we accept our responsibility and radically change our behavior. As the reader, you may get the impression then that I think all our trials are self-inflicted, which of course, isn’t the case. We all have things we wrestle with that we didn’t choose and often, God doesn’t simply remove those struggles when we ask. Why? If God has the power, why doesn’t he simply pave a smooth path through life for us?
Today’s passage provides some insight into why God allows us to experience hardships. In it, Paul referenced his own trials and said that he and his companions were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. He went on to say though, that he could look back and see that God used those afflictions to teach him faith and obedience. It was only in suffering that he learned to rely on God.
God could just iron out every wrinkle in my life, but then I’d never actually know that I needed him. It’s been in those times that I’ve had nothing else left that I’ve learned to turn to God and find my strength, joy, and hope in him alone. When I’ve thought I was doing fine on my own, I’ve often forgotten about him. Only in my desperate need do I realize how desperately I need God.
God does take some things away. Thankfully I don’t struggle today with wanting to take pills. There are other trials though that remain. I think and pray often for those struggling with ongoing anxiety and depression. I know many who’ve prayed for deliverance, but God hasn’t removed the struggle. God allows some trials remain so that we may learn to rely on him. If the struggle remains for life, then we must learn to rely on God our entire lives.
We may not be responsible for the struggle but we’re responsible for our reaction to the struggle. Paul said that when we experience trials, we must use that to learn obedience and faith. In doing so, we find that our joy doesn’t come from our unstable circumstances, but rather from our constant relationship with the father.