We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
So be truly glad! There is a wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure various trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when
Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
I could write a book on suffering (maybe I’ll get the chance to one day!) and how God works in our lives while we are suffering. Without delving into my own personal suffering- as hard as that is not to share and draw examples from- I will try to offer generalized encouragement based on my experiences and relationship with God.
As Christians, we’re quick to question God when we face a trial. We’re quick to complain to him and search for an answer as to why we’re going through something hard. After all, we love God and try to follow him right?
We’re quick to grumble “Why God, why? Why is this happening to me? It’s not fair! I love you and I’ve tried to be a good person. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I just can’t take it. When will you deliver me from this awful situation?”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with asking God questions and running to him for comfort in our distress. But we’re not always meant to understand why we’re going through something (nor are we always meant to be delivered from it). In fact, more often than not, we don’t know why we suffered that loss or were dealt that bad card or how we ended up in this mess. It’s not even about fairness. We have to remember that we don’t “deserve” suffering nor do we deserve being spared from suffering. God loves us and forgives us because he is love and chooses to do so unconditionally- not because of anything we’ve done. We can’t do anything for him to love us more or less.
We must recall what Peter said: Beloved (Dear friends), do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering that has come to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you take part in the sufferings of
Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter -13).
Jesus warned us: In this world you will have trouble, but don’t worry for I have overcome the world! ( John 16:33)
Trouble, trials, pain, suffering, sin- it’s all part of this life on earth. It can’t be avoided and no one is immune. Suffering is not a punishment God casts on us because of our sin. It’s hard when we’re hurting so bad and searching for a reason why or someone to blame to not blame him sometimes. After all, he’s in control of everything right? How could he let this happen? If he loved me, wouldn’t he have saved me from it? I use to believe this when I was younger and didn’t understand God’s love for me. I didn’t understand the guarantee of suffering in this life- for everyone,
Christian or not- and it’s ultimate purpose.
Instead of blaming, questioning, or complaining to God, we should take our hurt, anger and confusion to him- laying it all at his feet (Give all of your worries and cares to God for he cares about you, 1 Peter 5:7)- thanking him for the many blessings we do have (even if all that’s left to be thankful for is our salvation- what a gracious gift that is and it will never be taken away!) and praying to him for help to get through it; for him to turn it into something good.
We see in Romans 8:28 that God can and will work everything out (even all the bad stuff) for our good if we let him. This requires trusting in Him, not giving up our belief in his goodness and sovereignty, surrendering our need to figure it all out and fix it ourselves (that’s a tough one!). He loves to take something the enemy meant for harm and turn it into something that makes our life better and impacts other people for the better. The thing you are suffering may forever change you and your life, but it can do so in a positive way if it draws you closer to God, deeper in faith, making you stronger and wiser, and able to relate to other people going through suffering that need the hope you have in
God sees what you’re going through and it hurts him for he has compassion towards you (As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion to those who revere him, Psalm 103:13. Because of God’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, Lamentations 3:22). He’s well aware of the evil and pain in this world. He watches over the world and how people are hurting each other, sinning against each other, and it saddens him (Psalm 56:8). But he knows how it all ends and that one day there will be no more suffering!
He also watches how we handle suffering a trial. As we see in 1
Peter 1, trials test the genuineness of our faith in Him. It’s convicting to think about, but when I immediately jump to complaining, doubting, worrying, throwing a tantrum, hiding or going into self-protect-independent mode, then it shows God my faith in him is small. I’m making my problem (as awful as it may be) bigger than God is. If I’m quick to turn to God in prayer and thanksgiving, leaning on him for strength and comfort, asking for his hand on the situation and that he be glorified through it, then I prove that my faith in him is strong and mature. As the bible says, our faith is the most precious thing to him.
’s explanation for suffering: “God’s purpose for all suffering is for us to find more contentment in Him and less satisfaction in our selves and the world. The really deep lessons of life haven’t come through times of ease and comfort, but every significant advance made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deeper in faith has come through suffering.” We all handle suffering differently. The goal, as Christians, is to not rely on our selves or worldly things to make us feel better or to get through it. John Piper
We know God doesn’t bring suffering upon us, but when we are faced with it we shouldn’t be surprised or let it shake us up like an earthquake. For we know we will have to endure suffering of some sort on this earth. It is in our suffering that we’re able to connect with
Christ like in no other way and understand the suffering he endured for our sake; That we’re able to display God’s supernatural Spirit in us to others and advance his kingdom.
For these reasons, we should rejoice and be glad! Take up our cross (the suffering personal to us) and follow
Christ (carrying our burdens in the same manner he did) with surrender to God for the sake of his will in our lives and the lives of others. Praise be to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from Him. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Scriptures for further reading: Romans 8:28-30, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Philippians 3:7-11, Psalm 34:18-19, Psalm 86:15-16, Psalm 103:2-6 and 8, Jeremiah 31:25, Lamentations 3:21-32