My life (put) alongside God's word. Suffering and response section.
– by Matta Mubarak
Though our life on this planet called Earth is temporary and short, James 4:14, God our Creator intended it to be lived fully and in a satisfying way. God wants life to be joyful for every one of us, regardless of our individual skin colour, gender or geographical location, Acts 17:26-28. Our Lord Jesus said, “I have come in order that you might have life–life in all its fullness”, John 10:10, (Good News Bible). Humankind had turned away from the true God at the beginning and that sin made living much harder, Genesis 3:17-19. Only “When anyone is joined to Christ, he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come”,
2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNB). Those not joined to Christ make life difficult for everyone.
What the Creator wants for us
By “life in all its fullness” Jesus means satisfaction for us. He wants to satisfy every need He allows in the life He has given us. God does not want anyone to be a victim of anything in this world, 1 Corinthians 10:13. He wants every one of His human beings to fully enjoy life on this planet and to have the opportunity to live a life in full, enjoying all the benefits of using the earth He has created, Genesis 1:29-30. God wants equal opportunities for everyone, opportunities of using the land, opportunities in education and opportunities for development. He planned for everyone to have the right of being protected and valued, enjoying welfare wherever he or she lives.
Unfortunately, despite God’s great plan for all human beings, life is full of disappointment. With all those gifts from God that have been entrusted to us, life is not fully satisfying. Lots of the gifts that should be blessings have been turned to our harm, and life has become something unbearable. Therefore, today in Nuba Mountains where I live, many people repeatedly ask these questions, “Why do
bad things happen to good people? Why does life victimise good people? And why are good people victims of bad people, or victims of bad things?”
Life in Nuba Mountains
After the signing of the Peace Agreement in Sudan to end the 21 years of civil war between South and North Sudan in 2005, (including 17 years in Nuba Mountains), many Nubas came back to their land with very high expectations of life. They were going to rebuild and to share in the development of their land, which had been badly damaged
by the fighting. People enthusiastically started to rebuild social life that had been severely destroyed during war. Parents were reunited with their children after long times
of separation, husbands and wives joined together again, people came back to their villages and their original places, where there were good lands for farming and producing
enough crops to live on. Educational life started, with equal opportunities for the first time ever in the lives of Nuba people, allowing girls in big numbers to attend school. Girls
themselves were sent and enthusiastically went to their schools. Contrary to the past they gave education priority rather than marriage. This was also the first time in the history of Nuba people that they had secondary schools available within their area and those schools were to be managed by Nuba men and women. Many young men and young ladies who had finished their education came back home to participate in these developments. They used what they had learned in different levels. Some started good and great projects. Life in Nuba Mountains started to change. People tasted and began to speak of a bright future for all Nuba people.
Unfortunately it did not last, and many have felt hugely disappointed. Peace did not come. All that the Nuba intended to do and proposed did not happen. The ongoing war against the people brought them big disappointment these nine years (2014) and it cut deeply into their
expectations. Consequently life today is not at all easy for the people in Nuba Mountains. Most have experienced
difficulties, sorrows, injustices, persecutions and oppression. However, many have been and are living faithful lives even while suffering and facing incredible situations, such as the losing of all their properties and almost everything else in life. To change the miserable life for the people of Nuba Mountains in any great way, and to make it easier for them simply to live, major things need to be done.
We understand it is God’s plan and purpose that every man and woman He created lives where He puts them with equal opportunities for a satisfying life and the right to enjoy it until the end of their stay on this planet. Yet the fact is, because of disrespectful worldly men things do not go as the Creator originally intended. There are people who appear to have fewer problems and challenges, and they seem happier in life than others, but we must remember it is not because they are more valued by God.
God wants us to think differently about life as Christians, different from the way non-Christians think about life, Philippians 3:18-21. The Bible describes life as a wisp of smoke and as a shadow, James 4:14, Job 8:9. We should understand that all the things we are after in our lives are not actually what genuine life is really all about. Life is much more than things, Luke 12:15.
The reason behind life’s disappointments
As we see that it is God’s plan and purpose for all human beings to enjoy life together despite life being just a brief stay on earth and only a temporary residence for us all, we
do well to also remember He wants life to be full of beauty, just as He has already beautified it with all beautiful things, Genesis1:28-31, Psalms 8:3-9, 39:4-6, 119:19,
1 Peter 1:17-19. God has entrusted human beings with many precious things and working opportunities, Psalm 8:6-9.
Those who understand God’s purposes have caught this worshipful vision and have started to work very hard to add and contribute to life’s beauty. Unfortunately that is not the case with many different people. While some struggle, contending to keep life tasteful, uncivil men and women foolishly harm others and cause the disappointments in life by living unclean, harmful lives without decent ethics. While some people do good and live life by God’s standards according to His intention, valuing those precious things of life, other people distort life’s beauty and bring disappointments into the lives of everyone else.
I have seen and met many people in Nuba Mountains who do not plan or behave to deliberately harm others. They want to keep all moral, ethical regulations and fulfil all that
is requested from them, but because of the wicked behaviour of other people with no consciences, they have suffered a lot. Many women have fallen as victims of the
unmannerly behaviour of ‘undisciplined people’. These are the people of whom the Bible says that they do not sleep if they do not harm others Psalm 36:1-4, Proverbs 4:16-17. They victimise others by their wicked, satanic behaviour, 1 John 3:8-12.
Why? Why? Why?
When we each take a hard look at our own lives, making careful observation over them, we must come to the conclusion that life is full of disappointment and does not always make us happy. And how much worse it is to see other innocent people simply fall as victims under the feet
of evil people! Truly, “It is useless”, Ecclesiastes 1:2-3.
Because of injustice, severe oppression, persecution based on skin colour, geographical location and religious factors, which in turn cut out every opportunity and cause the lack of every basic human need, Nuba people and other folks have deeply suffered. Most of the young people of Nuba Mountains, who were born during the late nineteen eighties and nineties or since, have not experienced any of the good things of life in Nuba Mountains. All they have seen is killing and destruction. They have grown up knowing enmity and facing aggressive words. Today the very life of a human being is not precious any longer.
For many people-groups in Sudan all such precious things are no longer precious. While many desire good and precious things to happen to all people, others plan day and night to distort and destroy this by their wicked behaviour. Many are using their positions of being in higher places of authority or of having the best top jobs, to oppress and
victimise others. This has made – and is making – life utterly miserable. Because of this men exploit many women. Although the women want to live good and clean lives wicked people force them to do otherwise, using the oppression enabled by the lack of basic necessities or simply using force. Many young people would like to conduct Christian marriages but because of undisciplined men they are not permitted to do so. Many married women want to live faithfully for their husbands but because a lot of people live without Christian ethics they are blocked from doing it.
Uselessness that points us somewhere
Many today receive precious things for which they have not worked, while others have worked and struggled simply to find themselves the victims of robbing criminals. There is
no doubt this life is really disappointing when evil people interrupt daily life by stealing valuable precious gifts that belong to others, things that have been given by God to
certain people, and the bad people turn it into the harm of innocent and good people. That is indeed “useless”. Evil people are the cause of the disappointments. They do not
respect or honour the rights of others. This is one of main reasons life is made miserable for everyone. People who do not pay attention to standard human ethical principles (let
alone the higher principles of Christian ethics) are themselves the reason behind lives being filled with disappointment.
All the programmers who offer us help, all the beliefs and the promises given to us have ended up disappointing our people. In our disappointment we must hear our God
speaking. When on earth as our Lord Jesus God said, “Be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and He will provide you
with all these other things”, Matthew 6:33 (GNB). “Other things”, in the context of verses 24-34, are work, food, drink, life, clothes, and a daily relationship with God Himself.
May I draw your attention my brothers and my sisters, including all of my many fellow victims, to the priorities in that verse? There is only one Person Who never disappoints
us. Live your life looking to Him. His name is Jesus Christ.
1. Since God Himself promised us “life in all its fullness”, can we blame Him when we don’t seem to have it?
Why? Why not?
2. Pastor Matta suggests it can help those who are suffering to think about the beautiful things God does every day. What are some of these?
How do you think they would help you in suffering?
3. What can the ‘disappointed Christian’ do towards those people who are the cause of his/her disappointments?
Back up your answers from the Bible.
4. How do you live daily “looking to Jesus Christ”?