SUFFERING! IS IT GOD’S WILL?
There are answers from Scripture, from others and you may not believe it but your own experience. The very act of looking for answers can bring transformation. Let’s explore. Let’s make this a two way conversation. Ask me questions, leave comments or even disagree but let’s explore together because I DO NOT have all the answers.
The whole human race suffers, both believer and nonbeliever. This is because some catastophic events happened in the distant past. One of these events (but not the first) was when Adam and Eve turned the world over to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3. Thus brought cataclysmic change to the them, to humanity, to the ecology, to the animal kingdom and to the very structure of everything. We live in a broken world. But we are also part of the solution. Romans 8 (a MUST read) Please click on the link and come back here.
Basic thoughts about suffering:
A. The Bible is realistic in its approach to suffering.
Philippians 1:29-30 “For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I have.
Ohhhhh my! Suffering is given to us as a gift. Now that’s just weird! But it’s true. Read some if the illustrations to see the truth of this, even in the life of Stephen Hawking.
B. Wrong choices bring bad consequences and hurt innocent people. Angels and humans were created with free will. Isaiah 14:1215 & Ezekiel 28 refer to the self-centered choices of the angel, Lucifer and his fall from from heaven as a consequence and discipline. A bit lengthy to put here, though, so please click on the links to the Bible verses. Genesis 3:1-20 refers to the fall of humanity through one single bad choice.
C. There is a direct link between evil and suffering.
John 8:44. “43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to[n] My word.(BG) 44 You are of your father the Devil,(BH) and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer(BI) from the beginning(BJ) and has not stood in the truth,(BK) because there is no truth in him.”
D. God is NOT indifferent to suffering. Book of Job.
E. Suffering will transform you. It’s your choice whether you become better or bitter.
Psalms 66:8-12. “Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
Cling to that! He WILL BRING YOU OUT of whatever suffering you are in but you must cooperate with Him. If we resist God it’s very much like a drowning person resisting a life guard. You doom yourself.
F. Jesus learned obedience through suffering.
Hebrews 5:8 “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”
Fits with the last note above. I need to do what God says fir myself and for those around me. You see, if you get close to God you can actuallyhelp people around you even when you are in the thick of suffering.
G. Suffering will ultimately be removed.
Revelation 21:3-4 “l3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b]por mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The suffering of the believer.
Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Suffering the Christian can avoid – deserved. Discipline for wrong acts, thoughts, speaking.
Hebrews 12: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 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.
HOW TO GET OUT FROM UNDER DISCIPLINE
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin, Gid is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Evety time. All the time. All day and all night. He’s waiting to take it away.
Recognize your wrong thoughts, attitudes, talk, and actions. Admit it to God that theses these things are destructive to yourself and others (That is confession)” Claim your forgiveness. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. That’s the hard part for most people.
Psalm 38. This is lengthy but well worth it. It’s the confession of King Davud after his adultry with Bathsheba and murder if her husband. He has a tough time forgiving himself. Small wonder!
Meaning and Purpose in suffering. The believer’s undeserved suffering
1. Suffering for the glory of God. John 9, The Book of Job
2. Suffering to comfort others. II Corinthians 1:3-6
3. Don’t be surprised when you suffer. I Peter 4:12-16; Suffering so other people can see Jesus in you (Jesus is revealed)
I Peter 3:13-17 (Good one for social suffering)
7. Suffering to keep down pride. II Corinthians 12:7
8. Suffering to demonstrate the power of God. (Paul’s suffering) II Corinthians 12:8-10. (helps acceptance of sufferi going)
Suffering is transformational
It can make you better or it can make you butter. The choice is yours.
It’s easy to fall into hopelessness, anger, bitterness and confusion. I find it very difficult to climb out of that black hole one there. That’s what this page is for.
- The suffering of Christ > Resurrection. We can experience multiple resurrections. Really! Death can come in many firms; death of love, death of a relationship, death of my relationship with God and may others. If I dare turn over my suffering to God for the sake of other people He can then move into our situation and theirs just as Jesus did in His surrender which then made resurrection possible.
- Old Testament people > Horrible in the beginning but finished well. Hebrews 12
- Apostle Peters terrible choice to deny Chrust > The Rock on which Jesus built His church
- and I > becoming like Jesus, a tool in Gods hand to change the world
Suffering of a non-believer. Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15
Meaningless. Ecclesiastes; Temporary transformation – not eternal
If you would like to become a follower of Jesus it’s very, very simple. Ask Him into your life. Believe Him for who He is and what He has done for all of us. “For God so loved us He gave Hus one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not die but have eternal life.”
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, prayer needs, or just receive help and hope from this page.