In 3.1, we saw we get into these type of troubles by refusing to be proactive, running away from responsibility, through oppression and for unknown reasons.
Troubles we get into for doing nothing affect us in three main ways:
‘‘The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water– And the fire never says, “Enough!” (Proverbs 30:16).
It’s frustrating, tiring, confusing and sometimes even devastating to suffer for an unknown reason. If you make a mistake and suffer for it, at least, you know the course of your suffering. If you preach the Gospel or live a godly lifestyle and are persecuted you understand you’re partaking in the sufferings of Christ. But when you go through a situation whose root causes you’re ignorant of, it’s a nightmare.
Let’s look into Sarah and Hannah’s cases. Both women couldn’t have children for long periods. In some communities, not being able to conceive a child is considered a curse. When we had our first daughter, one of my cousins congratulated me and said ‘‘Now you’re a man’’. Sounded really strange. Was I a woman before?
Today, we can come up with all sorts of arguments and reasons why Sarah and Hannah couldn’t have children. But if you put yourself in their shoes the moment they went through those situations you’ll keep your mouth shut. It’s not easy when you try and nothing happens. You pray, fast and follow the doctor’s advice to no avail. In these frustrating trials, some even seek help from charlatans.
The Bible says ‘‘…Sarai was barren; she had no child’’ (Genesis 11:30, NKJV). Who could tell her why she was barren? Hannah’s rival ‘‘provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb’’ (1 Samuel 1:6, NKJV). Learning about these situations from a Bible and having some insufficient reasons to justify their sufferings today is different from going through them yourself and not knowing why. For many years, these and other families endured hard times from not being able to have children.
Some don’t know why they can’t find a job despite being qualified. Others can’t explain why their leaders don’t fulfil their promises despite having sufficient resources. There’s a gap which needs to be filled. They’ve tried everything but can’t find answers. It creates dissatisfaction and unfulfillment.
Suffering from an unknown reason, oppression or refusing to be proactive and responsible cause us to be afflicted in many ways. When superpower nations oppress poor ones and steal their resources, it creates destitution in those weak countries. The cries from the DRC, Libya, Iraq, Syria and many conflict zones around the world are partly as a result of oppression.
But some people go through certain sufferings for not being creative enough to utilize available resources to meet their needs. I was in a village in Africa. People live in patched and poorly maintained houses. When it rains, water leaks through holes on the roofs and causes inconveniences. Most of these villagers use cement and sand blocks to erect walls. But all around the land where they live are the best species of wood in the world – mahogany, iroko, ebony, Sapele, etc. They utilize the precious wood mostly to cook food instead of transforming some of the species to build decent houses.
The Bible says ‘‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him’’ (James 1:5 NKJV). We can avoid some afflictions if we approach God to receive certain revelations on how to confront our challenges.
People who suffer for doing nothing often feel they’re failures. They think they aren’t worth. In some communities, this reaction originates from the attitudes and perceptions others have about their situation. It may not be your fault you couldn’t find a decent job at the moment. But others may fill you’re lazy, non-proactive or not trying enough.
In some communities, couples without children are disrespected by some. Those arrogant community members with children speak proudly about their achievements creating unease and generating a sense of failure among those who don’t. It’s possible Hannah and Sarah saw themselves as failures in their barren states among their rivals.
‘‘Do not call me Naomi’’ Naomi said ‘‘call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty’’ (Ruth 1:20-21, NKJV). Naomi felt she was a failure for losing her family in Moab and returned to Israel empty.
In 3.3, we’ll discover how to get out of these troubles God’s way.