We see often in Scripture the saints of God in times of suffering. Adam and Eve suffered the murder of their son by his own brother. Job suffered the loss of almost all he had. Actually, a good deal of Job’s loss was due to a weather-related event. The faithful Christians in Revelation suffered and even in Heaven seem to question why they were not being avenged for their suffering. Hebrews 11 has a whole list of suffering saints.
We are faced with the question of why God’s children suffer if an all-powerful God loves and cares for them. Though that seeming dilemma cannot be fully answered in our human knowledge and certainly not in a short article, a few quick reasons for suffering may lead you to further help and study.
1. Sin. We live in a sin-cursed world. Romans 8:22 reminds us that all Creation groans because of sin. People, nature and all the universe are under the curse of sin. In addition, the consequences of our own personal sin often bring pain. The sins of others can bring heartache, too. God did not leave us in this situation, but provided salvation through Jesus Christ, his death, burial and resurrection. Although we still experience pain in this life, we have the hope of eternity without pain and sorrow if we repent of our sin and accept his free gift of salvation. When all is lost, we can still have hope through Jesus Christ. God never promised an easy pain free life, but he did promise to never leave us or forsake us even in the storms. Even in death itself. For the child of God, death is God’s merciful escape from this sin-cursed world. Click here to learn more about how you can have a relationship with God.
2. Strangers. We are strangers in this world. Hebrews 11:13 reminds us that this world is not our home. This is not our place of rest. We can’t expect to be too comfortable here. Heaven is our resting place.
3. Sons. We are sons of God. Therefore God, as a loving Father, brings suffering at times to discipline us in order that it may yield the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” in our lives (Hebrews 12).
4. Satan. Job 1 allows us to see that Satan and his minions are allowed by God to bring about hard times for God’s children in order to bring glory to God. Always remember though, that God’s glory and the good of his children are eternally bound together. Our good does not stop in order to bring God glory. Somehow even our suffering is actually good for us in ways we may never understand until we get to Heaven.
5. Selfishness. Although a derivative of #1 above, it still should be mentioned, because the selfishness of those we love (as well as those we don’t even know) can cause great pain.
So, Here Are The 5 Biblical Ways We Can Learn to Cope Even When Life Is Hard
1. Relinquish control to God’s sovereign plan, knowing that He is never out of control. Even with the problem of sin and evil, God overrules and works all things for our good as we become more like Christ.
2. Rest in God’s wisdom and love. God is all-wise. He knows the end from the beginning and is always acting in love toward us, His children. We often cannot see that when in suffering, yet we can understand it when we compare parenting to God’s love. As a parent allows a non-understanding, crying baby to undergo surgery, an immunization shot, or other pain for ultimate healing or good, so God does the same. As the parent would not love the child if he/she stopped the pain, so God would not fully love us if He did not allow what was best.
Jesus himself suffered rejection, pain, and even death. God however was over-ruling in his sovereign control and brought about eternal good through the suffering of his own son.
3. Run to His Word. God’s Word, the Bible, contains “all things that apply to life and godliness.” We open it to find the truths we need, and we depend upon His Spirit to lead us in applying it to our situation and to our hearts personally. We encourage you to especially read the Psalms during difficult times.
4. Reach out to others. In the midst of our pain, it is helpful to serve others. Serving helps us get our focus off of our suffering. It is an encouragement to know that we have helped others and been used by God to bring joy to them. Even during Jesus’ suffering on the cross, He was mindful of His mother’s needs.
5. Share your burden. Don’t substitute fellowship with others for time with God; but if at all possible, find a close Godly friend who will faithfully listen and point you back to God’s truth when your faith begins to waiver. Confide in your church family to find healing and strength. God works through the body of Christ, the church.