Why do we suffer?
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1)
Maybe Job had some answers.
God allowed Satan to torment him, friends who wrongly judged him and a wife who told him to curse God and die. This happened to a good man. These are Job’s words to God at the end of his ordeal.
Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Nothing in the heavens nor on earth can prevent the purposes of God.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things that are too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” It is foolish trying to explain things we do not understand.
‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ (Job 42:1-5) Let us ask God His purposes for our suffering.
We are flesh.
To suffer death is the fate of all men. (Numbers 16:29) Rachel suffered severe labor giving birth to a son. Dying, she named him Ben-oni, “the son of my suffering.” (Genesis 35:16) Death and the pain of birth is simply the result of God’s curse upon His creation. (Genesis 3:14-19) A curse affecting all mankind throughout our generations until the time of God’s redemption.
We suffer because of the sin of others.
For forty years the “sons suffered for their fathers unfaithfulness” as they wandered through the desert. (Numbers 14:33) The humble are ruled by the proud. Those who hunger and pursue righteousness are mocked and persecuted. The poor are oppressed, innocence is violated and those trusting are deceived. Satan rules over the children of this dark age and we live among them.
The consequence of our own sin.
We bring suffering upon ourselves. Sinful Indulgences can irreparably damage our body leaving us to suffer the consequences of sin for the rest of our lives. For the child of God sin results in our Father’s discipline. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10-11)
Take comfort in suffering.
Know that God is aware of His Children’s suffering. (Exodus 3:7) Its purpose is to produce the perseverance of faith which developes holiness and fills us with hope. (Romans 5:3-4) “Although He was a Son, He (Jesus) learned obedience from the things that He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) Jesus knows the cost of obedience. And says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:21-23)
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18)
We suffer the consequences of sin; Adam’s, those ruled by Satan, church members and our own. If we are following Christ we suffer in obedience. Suffering is unavoidable, but we have been given this promise. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
I know there are natural disasters that cause suffering and that men are born crippled or blind. I will not presume to explain the things that I have no knowledge, but I trust that God has His purpose. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Amen.