Have you ever wondered why we suffer? Why does God, who is a good God, allow so much suffering in our lives and in this world?
In fact, did you know that God even says in His word that simply being a Christian means we are going to endure suffering in this life. Suffering in our lives as Christian is a sign that we are truly one of God’s children. If someone ever tells you that your life as a Christian should be full of good times and prosperity, you need to check their theology. Suffering is a part of the Christian walk. We suffer just like Christ did and to suffer with Christ is one of the highest honors.
I’ll be the first to say that this doesn’t make me get all excited to learn that this is the way God has chosen to mark those that are His. But after living a little and walking through my own suffering, I’m beginning to understand it better. Recently I heard a great sermon at my church about suffering that helped to encourage my heart and give me a better understanding of suffering. So in this post, I want to share with you some of the ‘why’s’ behind the sufferings that God has us walkthrough and hopefully it can encourage your heart.
Suffering as Discipline
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Hebrews 12:7
If you are suffering as a Christian, guess what?! It means that God loves you and is treating you as His child. Children need discipline to grow and become mature adults. It’s the same for us in our walk with God. God takes us through seasons of discipline to grow us and teach us how to follow him.
Sometimes we must endure suffering because of a bad choice we made and God brings hard trials to force us to come back to Him. Other times we don’t know the reason why we suffer, just that God is using it in our life to prepare us for something in the future. But we can trust 100% in God’s disciplining of us. God doesn’t ever make any mistakes in the training he causes us to go through as Christians.
I don’t know about you, but I find it so encouraging to know that suffering has a purpose. Suffering is meant to make us more like Christ. It is part of the process of sanctification in our lives. In Hebrews 12:10 it says that “…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Suffering and discipline is meant to bring us closer to the holiness of God. Let that sink in for a moment. All the hard trials you walk through, are bringing you closer to God’s holiness!
Whether we are suffering because of a bad choice we’ve made, or from simply following God, be encouraged that suffering is never wasted in your life. God is a good father who doesn’t let us get away with our sin and he uses every experience we go through for his good purposes in our life. The suffering you face is going to bring you closer to God and to His Holiness.
How to View Suffering
“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” Romans 5:3
Lastly, in this post, I want to touch briefly on what our response should be to suffering. I’m sure you’re familiar with the verse above that says we are to rejoice in our suffering. Well, when we view suffering in this new light; as a display of God’s love towards us as his children, then, of course, it should cause us to rejoice! Suffering in our life means that God loves us! That sure makes me want to rejoice and be thankful that God is going to be using all my suffering for good!
Also, one last thing from the sermon that has just stuck in my head has been the word trustworthy. God is trustworthy! He can be trusted to get us through each and every hardship we face! I basically prayed this word over and over in my car as I was driving home the other day. Isn’t it amazing! God can be trusted with your life. God can be trusted with your future and all your unknowns. God can be trusted with all your sufferings.