Have you ever wondered how God feels about suffering? I mean, we look around our world today, and there is so much suffering and so much pain. Most of do not have to look far to find suffering, whether it is someone that is addicted in our family or someone that has a disease or has suffered a death of someone close. You may be suffering right now and trying to understand how in the world can you believe in God and trust in Him and still have to go through all this suffering? Suffering comes in all different packages and sizes, and there seems to be no one exempt from pain. I know the TV evangelist told you if you had enough faith you would never go through anything and life would be one big carnival, and you could eat cake every day and never get fat. Let me tell you that is a lie. The truth is Jesus Himself said that in this world, we would have persecution, and we will have trials. The disciples went through trials, Paul said that he had been beaten and had gone hungry and even had a condition that he prayed three times for, but God would only say “My grace is sufficient” but never removed the thorn from him.
Now first, we must know what God thinks about suffering. He does not like it, and it was never the will of God that any person should suffer. Remember God’s world was perfect with no sickness and no death in it and that is the world that He intends to bring back to us one day or at least to those that believe in His Son Jesus Christ. No God takes no joy in the suffering of men, but suffering was brought to us, wait for it, by us, or at least by our forefather Adam. If we go, even deeper sin brought forth suffering, and sin was introduced to us by Satan when he rebelled against God in heaven. From the moment that sin entered the picture, suffering enter into the world with it like a lifelong companion. You see, you can live in a world with sin and not have the suffering that comes with it. All suffering can be traced back to sin, and so inside all of us, there is not only a sinful nature, but there is a suffering nature as well.
Let me explain it to you like this. When you are young and healthy, you never think about aches and pains. You never think about getting old and one day not being able to do. You do what needs to be done, never really think about the consequences. But over time our body wears out, and all of us get old. When we get old things to begin to happen, did you know that if you live to be ninety that you will be two inches shorter than you were when you were thirty? Just a matter of life. Because of sin, we wear out and many times with that comes pain, aches and maybe even some health problems, and Jesus can heal us, but at some point, the only way He can do that is to give us a new body and that only comes when we see Him. The point I am making is that we were born into sin, and because of that, we must go through things that were never God’s intention.
Ok but that is natural what about all the stuff that happens that is not natural that causes us to suffer. The things that come out of nowhere are much worse than just growing old over the years. Well, the truth is that God never intended for us to go through those things either. In the garden, God gave Adam authority over everything in creation, but when Adam sinned, he gave that authority away. When Jesus come, He regained that authority and has given to those in the church that is living in accordance with His word according to 1 Peter 2. The problem is that even though we have the authority of Jesus, we still face things in our life. Some are products of sinful seeds that we sowed early in life, and some are seeds of moments of rebellion, and others just because we live in a fallen society. Nothing to do with what we have done but we just get caught up in the center of something that happened because we live in a fallen world.
Anyone that tells you that those that get sick are only sick because they do not have enough faith is wrong. Paul had plenty of faith, but God would not remove the “thorn” that he prayed about in his own life. So many Christians have felt guilty because of suffering in their life because they thought that it was a lack of faith. Now do not get me wrong I believe in the healing power of Jesus. I believe that anyone can be healed or delivered of anything at any time and that it does require faith, but at the same time I am not the one that heals or delivers and it is not my place to understand why God does what He does when He does it. I have prayed for many people that God had divinely healed, but I have prayed for just as many that God has chosen not to heal. Some that I know have great faith but were not healed of what they were going through. So why do we suffer? I do not know, but here are a few things I do know.
- God is still God, no matter what.
No matter what we go through, whether God heals us or whether we have to go through the storm for a long time, the one true thing is that God is still God. His power and His mercy are not contingent on whether I am healed or not. His grace is not measured by how fast He brings me out of the storm. No God is still God, no matter where I am or what I am going through. When we see that then we can know that whatever we face we are not facing alone and we can understand that every day is a day for a miracle. You see, only when you come to this understanding can you have hope. Hope believes that God is going to bring you out of any situation and no matter how long your storm may last if you can come to the revelation that God is God no matter what then you can all ways have hope
- Nothing a Christian goes through is wasted.
Paul shares that we come to know God more deeply through suffering because we come to know the suffering of Jesus for the faith. I thank God that even while suffering He is teaching me something. He does not waste what I am going through but instead uses it is to strengthen me and to empower me to help others that might be going through something like me. Like spring practice in football, the trials of life are making me better, so when the fall of life comes, I will be stronger and prepared for whatever comes my way. I have found in my own life that during times of struggle, I have had God give me some of the most profound revelations. Maybe it is because I have been more sensitive.
- In the end, we will win if we stay faithful.
Lastly, we have to understand that no matter what we go through in life, we have the assurance that sooner or later it will all work to our good. As one preacher said, “ten seconds in heaven, and we will have forgotten every battle we face on earth.” The truth is that this life is nothing more than a launching pad to the world to come, and as believers, we know that one day, every tear will be wiped away. We may not understand suffering here in this world, but it is crystal clear in the world to come, and that is that there is no suffering. For the believer, we all ways have hope that Jesus will deliver us down here, but we have complete faith that He will deliver us of all suffering in the end. You see true healing only comes from an eschatological standpoint. Let me explain. If you have cancer and pray and Jesus heals you of cancer, then you are healed of that terrible disease, and it may never come back, but the truth is that you are still going to die. The fact is your body is still going to wear out from something. But for the believer when you see Jesus, the Bible says He will give you a new body that will never wear out, and at that moment, your healing is complete. So, for every believer realize that suffering is only for a season and sooner or later, Jesus will bring you through. I pray He will heal and deliver you right now in this life but if your suffering lingers know He is still God and He is still worthy of your praise, and He is working this thing out for you in some way. Why