“33 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.”
The dilemma caused by suffering is hard to wrap your head around. People often wonder how God can be loving and then allow suffering. The responses we hear on the problem of suffering are often heavily emotional and personal. But in contrast, the explanation put in front of us by the Bible explains God’s everlasting perspective of the problem.
Let’s go through what the Bible has to say about the problem of suffering.
1. There Are Many Kinds Of Suffering
“19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”
According to the Bible, Christians can go through different types of suffering. Meaning they can either be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. All Christians will have to suffer at one point in their life because it is through suffering that we grow, learn and become better humans. For instance, the Apostle Paul faced several different kinds of suffering.
“20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,”
In some instances, suffering can be caused by sin, but that does not mean that the righteous will not suffer. Even they will groan because of the weight of suffering, and it is only in heaven that suffering will forever stop.
“4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
2. There’s Always A Purpose
While the pessimistic mind might make you think the pain you feel has no purpose, God always uses these circumstances to teach his followers lessons that will help them accomplish their goals. During Joseph’s harsh circumstances (Genesis 37-50), his suffering led to several people being rescued.
This teaches us that a devoted Christian turns towards God during the testing times of suffering. They praise His providing hand and put all of their trust into His ability to solve our problems, even when He lets unfavorable circumstances affect us. These tragedies are hard to understand, but sometimes, these are catastrophes of change.
3. It Equips Us With Maturity
Amidst the problem of suffering, sticking to faith can be hard. But it is also important to understand that difficult times bring out traits already integrated into our personality. A person entering the dark tunnel of suffering is completely different from the person who exits the same tunnel.
“4 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”
1 Peter 4:1