The sermon today was on Genesis 22, God testing Abraham.
"Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, 'Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!'" Gen 15:5
This is God's promise to Abraham, and yet after God has provided Abraham with a son and seemingly fulfilled his promise, he asks Abraham to give Isaac back. Abraham dutifully follows through with the request, doing everything asked of him, but how could he have understood? He must've been asking himself "Why?"
God did not ask this of Abraham because He is a sadist. He did not want to see Abraham agonize over the task at hand; God's purpose was to deepen Abraham's faith, to teach Abraham that God will always provide. Nevertheless Abraham must've suffered terribly on his journey to the mountain.
In the same way we often suffer terribly in our own lives only doing what God has asked us to do, but this suffering is not what God wants. If we suffer while doing the will of God, it is because we are sinners. Our entire perspective is distorted. Consider the story of the rich man and the beggar.
But Abraham replied, ‘Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. Luke 16:25
Who is judging what is good and bad here?
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matt 7:11
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Rom 8:28
It is clear that God gives us good things. Did God then, give Lazarus bad things? No. Lazarus resides in Heaven. He has been given bad things only from a fallen, human perspective.
In the garden of eden, God tells Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If Adam and Eve had no understanding of right and wrong, why would they obey any rule? They knew that it was wrong to eat from that tree. God is not in the practice of withholding moral knowledge from us. He gives it to us both in general revelation and in his specific revelation. Instead, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil imparted to Eve and then Adam the ability to decide for themselves what was good and evil. Genesis 2:25 says:
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
This was good in the sight of God, but as soon as Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Gen 3:7
Adam and Eve began deciding for themselves what was good and evil.
We have never given up this sin and it is the cause of most, if not all of our suffering. God will always provide. God didn't let Abraham sacrifice his son, but he did give his son up to death and Hell for all of us. God always gives us good things. We, in our pride, pronounce things good and evil, but we have neither the wisdom or perspective to do so, and we suffer because of it. God is the source of wisdom, and he gives us good things; he provides for us. If we trust in him, instead of ourselves and our judgments, we will find life much less painful.