Then Elisha said, “Listen to the word of the LORD; thus says the LORD, ‘Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be [sold] for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.’”
2 Kings 7:1
The northern kingdom of Israel was experiencing a famine made worse by a siege. A famine so severe that people had come to the point of cannibalism just to survive. The king was angry and decided to take out that anger on the prophet Elisha. When the king arrived, Elisha set him straight and let him know that God was going to supply abundantly; so plentifully that things that were non-existent that day would be sold cheaply the very next morning. It happened exactly the way Elisha prophesied.
There are two things that catch my attention as I consider this.
The first is that the king did what many of us are apt to do: he blamed God for his suffering. Suffering is a part of life and we see it everywhere. But, because it is not evenly distributed; because it seems unfair to us that someone else (who we think deserves to suffer more than they do) suffers less than we and another (who we think does not deserve it) suffers more, we seek to blame someone for this. It is not surprising. Adam and Even sought to blame others for their transgressions in the Garden of Eden. We — human beings — have been looking to blame others for things since there were things for which to lay blame.
Some suffering is circumstantial, like the famine. Weather patterns and natural events happen. While God can step in and alter their course, He does so far less often than people seem to think and more often for the good than we are willing to admit.
Other suffering is a consequence for our own action or inaction — the person who has health problems due to a life lived without regard for diet or exercise comes to mind.
And some suffering is actually caused by others. The amount of suffering caused by people with malicious intent is an incredibly small minority of the suffering in this life. Most suffering falls into the first two categories: things that just happened and things that we did to ourselves.
And our notion of God as come omnipotent sadist flies in the face of everything He shows Himself to be. In fact, C.S. Lewis once observed that God seems rather to be a sort of divine hedonist Who created so many more pleasures for us to enjoy than sufferings for us to endure.
Second, I see that God knows what I need and has more supply for it than I can imagine. The people in the account needed food. God was ready to supply and to supply abundantly.
Let me be mindful that most of the suffering in my life is just there. God did not send it or cause it, but curated it to be sure that I got only so much as would be beneficial for me in the end. Likewise, the need I feel has a matching supply in the storehouses of God.
Father, thank You for supplying my needs. Thank You, also, for filtering the suffering that gets through to me so that it works for my good. Please keep me mindful of all Your benefits.