Divine Distastes

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Joni and Friends
Divine Distastes

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.”

Exodus 3:7

There are a lot of things God doesn’t like. We can tick off a few—like, well…sin, spiritual snobbery, rebellion, fudging the truth, stepping on people’s toes to get ahead, and so on, ad infinitum.

But besides sin, God has a strong distaste for suffering. This is movingly pictured in Judges 10:16. God has been watching the Ammonites oppress Israel. The Jews cry out in prayer and toss out their idols. Finally—here’s the line—God “could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” His tenderness was roused by human anguish. Years earlier he said to Moses the words in today’s Scripture passage. To God, suffering is distasteful, to say the least. God is truly grieved at how we’ve ruined the world and abused each other. This grief is partly why he gave the Ten Commandments: Don’t murder, he says—I hate unjust killing. Don’t commit adultery—I despise seeing families ripped apart.

Your tears touch God. He aches to show his compassion. If Adam had never fallen, if God could rewrite the story, I’m convinced he never would have let suffering out of the cage, much less allowed sin to pollute his planet. “He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” (Lam. 3:33).

Habakkuk spoke accurately of God when he said, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong” (Hab. 1:13). And God won’t. One day very soon—much sooner than we think—God will close the curtain on sin, sweeping suffering and all its pain and tears away forever. Until that time he permits what he hates, to accomplish something mysterious and wonderful that he loves: Christ in us.

I realize, Lord, that you permit all sorts of things you don’t approve of. It’s a mystery to me. I’m just grateful you understand my pain. Help me to hold on to you, dear God. I want Christ to come forth in my life through my suffering.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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