There has been much debate recently on why Christians suffer, and whether or not God willingly allows our suffering.
There are numerous places in the Bible that show that He does allow things to happen to bring about His will. He controls everything, and though He could stop everything bad from happening if He so chooses, there are times when He chooses to allow things to happen. Just by the very fact that He did not stop something from happening, shows that he allowed it.
The Bible makes it clear that we have suffering because of sin; but I believe that God allows Christians to suffer for a variety or reasons.
Because of this belief, I was recently accused of saying that God creates evil and causes us to sin. I was accused of saying that he deliberately plans evil for us by bringing suffering and hardship or abuse and slander upon us. The previous paragraphs are what I was judged on, and if you read them closely you will see that this is not what I said.
I do not believe that God causes evil or that he causes us to sin; and I have never said that He does. To say that would be blasphemy because the Bible is very precise on that fact.
Let me be clear — God does not cause evil, nor does He cause us to sin.
I admit that for some it may be difficult to align a God of love and mercy with a God that allows each of us to suffer, but the Bible makes it clear that His children will and do suffer, for whatever reason.
It could be un-confessed sin in our lives and God is trying to get us to acknowledge it. Hebrews 12 tells us that God chastens His children because He loves us – just as we would chasten our children.
It could be to grow our faith and draw us closer to Him. If we suffer, we will move closer to Him for His strength and peace; if our lives were all smooth and worry free, we might move away from him and think we could live under our own power.
When I think of this, I think of Psalm 119. v. 67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” v. 71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
In Matthew 10 Jesus tells us that we will be hated of all men and that we will be persecuted. If they persecuted Him, they will persecute us. It is a way for us to relate to Him and to grow more like Him.
Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18-19
He goes on to say “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Romans 5:1-5 tells us that tribulation brings patience and through the tribulations we should not be ashamed because we have the love of God in our hearts.
Romans 8 tells us that we are joint-heirs with Christ and that we will suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified together with Him. (vv. 14-18) Then it reassures us that no matter what we suffer, God will work it for good to us that love Him. (vv. 28-31)
James 1:3 also says trials will teach us patience.
1 Peter addresses the issue of suffering for righteousness’ sake – that Christ left us an example on suffering (2:19-25) and that the trials to our faith will be much more precious than gold when it is tried with fire. (1:7) (3:17)
God is in complete control, and allows or prevents according to His will. He is not obliged to do things according to what we want. He is not obliged to give us a worry free, problem free life.
We, His adopted children, must have complete confidence in His power, love and will. Even though appearances may make us want to doubt Him, we must trust Him implicitly and have faith that He will work things for our good.
We do not know His purposes and we see things differently than He sees them.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
He will accomplish His will, and we must trust Him to accomplish it on our behalf.
After all, isn’t that what faith is all about?
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I will be posting a more in depth look at suffering in upcoming posts. They are a series of five short articles written for ChristianBlessings last year. They will be put under “Suffering” in the header above.
faithfull4him wrote a great post at ChristianBlessings (ptl2010.com) : He Knows Your Pain
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012