Before reading these insights, I encourage you to do the Bite Size study Worse Than Suffering.
I think I had a vague feeling that my life would run smoothly when I became a believer. And when I encountered my first difficulties as a Christian, I was confused. But as I've grown in the Lord, I'm learning that difficulties are often my best friends.
The Question "Why?"
There's nothing wrong with asking God "Why?" But I've often asked "Why?" from the wrong perspective, as if God owes me a smooth path. When we ask God "Why?" we need to do it with an attitude of trust and accept the fact that He may not give us every answer we seek.
We suffer because the world is fallen:
Romans 8: 21-23: "...the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us."
- God created a world without sin, suffering, pain, decay, confusion, insecurities, fear, waste, or natural disasters.
- All of these things entered the world when Adam and Eve chose to sin.
- Righteous people are affected by these things as much as wicked people.
Hebrews 11:7: "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?" (See Punishment versus Discipline & Insights).
Sometimes we suffer from our own sins, but we also encounter difficulties as part of our sanctification process.
We suffer persecution for Christ:
2 Timothy 3:12: "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted"
If we are living for Christ, showing His love and speaking His truth, we will encounter unjust treatment at times.
2. Why is it important to understand that suffering will be part of our lives?
If we believe Christ promises a smooth life or promises an explanation for everything we encounter, our difficulties will weaken our faith instead of strengthening it. God didn't explain Job's suffering. He explained that He was worthy of Job's trust. Knowing we can trust God's character is more important than understanding individual tragedies.
Resource: When God Doesn't Make Sense by James Dobson
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, Bite Size Bible Study
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted