suffering they were never wrong,
Masters: how well they understood
position; how it takes place
else is eating or opening a window
Have you ever noticed
that some people sail through life with no obvious adversity while others live
tormented existences? People’s suffering may be the result of their own sin, or
lack of faith or their own doing. Sometimes it’s not. Is suffering pointless or
is there a purpose to it? C.S. Lewis wrote:
“Well take your choice. The
tortures will occur.
If they are unnecessary, then
there is no God or a bad one.
If there is a good God, then
tortures are necessary. For no
good Being could possibly
permit them if they weren’t.”
Both God and Satan have
a stake in suffering: Satan’s is to destroy us – God’s is to purify us. Suffering
has different results in different people. The 17th Century
Christian Poet, John Donne referred to this phenomenon in his Meditation XVII
from which we get the famous line “And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Every persons suffering is a concern for everyone, every person's death affects the whole. How we respond to suffering also has an impact of the community, particularly in areas where euthanasia and assisted suicide are practiced.
We can choose to let trials (physical or otherwise) mature us or defeat us. Our
response to suffering is like the two sides of the same coin.
God can use suffering
(and other trials) to increase our capacity to trust in His promises, just as
Abraham believed in God’s promises (Romans 4.17-22). All true faith relates to
God’s promises. The substance of faith is often forged in the fire of suffering
or affliction. We must not be bitter when they come! Faith does not grow in comfortable surroundings.
God may test our faith
by putting a situation upon us (or allowing a situation to be put on us) in
order to prompt us to acknowledge either that we truly rest in God’s
sufficiency or we rely of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is really Pride by
Let’s look at some
know that Satan can bring affliction (2Corinthians 12.7b), but does God ever
bring or allow affliction, suffering or disability? (Exodus 4.11; Job 16.12; Psalm
66.11. Jonah 2.2)
Is affliction ever a
blessing? (Job 23.10; Psalm 119.67; Romans 5.1-5; 2 Corinthians 4.16-18 & 2
Corinthians 5.1 & 2 Corinthians 12.7-10)
(nb: Read, consider and
pray about 2 Corinthians 4 & 5. It is the invisible things in life that
people want most desperately (even non-Christians). The most obvious example of
this is love. I believe this is a
residual effect of being made in the Image of God. People have actually died or
ended their lives due a lack of love.)
How should Christians
consider and respond to affliction and suffering? (Romans 8.18; 2Corinthians
4.1 & 16; 2Corinthians 12.10; Ephesians 3.13-14; Hebrews 12.5-7 & 11).
Seek, believe, and trust the true and eternal God (Job 19.25-27).
Suffering and affliction
can have a refining influence (whether the suffering be for our faith or
otherwise). We must remain open to the Will of God to act in our lives. What
Scriptures address this aspect of suffering? (Job 23.10; Psalm 66.10; Isaiah
48.10; Malachi 3.3; 1Peter 1.6-7; 1Peter 4.12; 1Peter 5.10.
God allows or brings
suffering to change, confront, or conform us to be more Christ-like. We can
curse God or lean on Him. The choice is ours.
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