While we would like to be exempt from suffering, the truth of the matter is that we’re not. Just as Jesus suffered – in the form of persecution, false accusations, betrayal, beatings, rejection and ultimately crucifixion, as followers and believers we will encounter tribulation (troubles, affliction) and suffering too. However, the Bible says “don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world” (bible verse: 1 Peter 4:12, 13).
Let’s take a look at some reasons why suffering and bad things happen:
Suffering Reveals the Glory of God
Oftentimes, God allows you to go through something not because you’ve done something wrong, but because when you come out on the other side, your story will hold the key to help someone else. In other words: your suffering is not for you; it’s for the testimony that will be birthed through your suffering that will reveal the glory of God to others.
Biblical Example of Suffering Revealing God’s Glory
Allow me to draw your attention to John 9:2, 3 where one of Jesus disciples asked: “Rabbi, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” [Jesus Replied:] “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him”. –Jesus then healed and restored the sight of the blind man.
I want you to notice the longsuffering this man endured before this divine encounter with Jesus. He was blind since birth. This means he didn’t have the activity of his eye sight and had to learn to function and operate in life without it. One might say he was being punished or cursed. However, Jesus asserts neither are true. The suffering of the blind man happened so that the power of God could be seen through him in that very moment. In other words: his suffering had purpose – to reveal the glory of God to those that would witness and hear about this transformational healing. Because of his encounter with Jesus, he went from being blind to having sight. Life as he knew it changed forever and for the better.
Suffering will Test and Build Your Character
When everything is going peachy and well, it’s real easy to give God a “hallelujah” and an “Amen”! However, it’s while you’re walking through the fire that your true character is revealed. With that being said, consider the notation that God allows suffering to test your character. As cliché as the saying goes, it’s true, “there’s no testimony without a test”. Jesus walked this earth, was tested and treated unjustly. He endured whip lashing, prosecution, crown of thorns, rejection and piercings in His side just to name a few. At any point Jesus could have decided this was too much and given up; however because He understood that suffering was part of the assignment, He didn’t give up, He endured. Testing will produce endurance (if you let it). Now as a result of his suffering, you and I 2000 years later can receive the gift of eternal life. All because Christ endured the process.
When we understand that suffering is inevitable and a part of life, regardless of nationality, religious beliefs, social or financial status, you can begin to change your perception on suffering and pain.
Understand that suffering builds character. A purging, growing, molding and cutting away process happens when we endure life challenges. This is where we learn NOT to depend on ourselves. I wrote an article titled, “When Life is Hard and Difficult” where I talked about life being so hard to where it literally breaks you down and the only thing you can do is yell “God HELP!” It’s in your “God HELP” that you truly learn total dependency on God (because you can’t do it alone). It’s in [your] weakness that God’s power is made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).
What Does the Bible Say about Suffering?
Believe it or not, the Bible has some positive things to say about suffering. Here are some bible verses:
- Hebrews 5:8: “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:10: “I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- Psalm 119:71: “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”
- James 1:2-4: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
These four scriptures alone allows you and I to gather that suffering produces obedience, strength, endurance and growth.
If God Exist and Loves me, then Why am I Suffering?
I want to share something with you: when I was at my lowest moment in life, homeless and in transition, I asked God this same question. I remember telling God, “How could you allow this to happen?” I had to literally trust God to provide my day to day needs. However in retrospect, I am able to see that God was not punishing me. He was building my faith and teaching me to trust Him. Although the situation was uncomfortable (very uncomfortable), it was needed for me to endure that process. Not because God didn’t love me, but because it brought me closer to Him.
Why am I suffering God: Final Words
I don’t know what your story is and what you’re going through, but I want you to know that you will get through it. You may feel discouraged or be in a dark place right now but know that there is hope. God will not let you go through this without there being provision to see you through it.
It’s important that you understand the message of this article; so brief recap:
- God is NOT punishing you.
- There is purpose behind your suffering (oftentimes tied to an assignment).
- Your suffering is not for you (it will be used to reveal the power of God to you and others).
- Suffering will test and build your character.
- Suffering produce obedience, strength, endurance and growth.
- It also strengthen your faith in God.
- In your weakness (suffering and pain), God’s power is made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9); Trust Him!
There’s a reason why longsuffering is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); as long as we’re here on earth, we will have to endure trouble. However know that trouble does not last always. God says in His word that He will not put more on you than you can bare (1 Corinthians 10:13). Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5). May God give you the strength to endure and may the Holy Spirit minister to you in Jesus name; Amen.