This is Part 3 of 5 parts answering the question, “Why does God allow suffering in the lives of His “new creations”?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 4 and 5 will be posted on June 18, 19, 2014, respectively.
While Suffering, Christians Must Trust God by Faith
Faith is the solution. Faith is the confidence. As we see in the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11, faith is the victory, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6 NKJ) Life is not just an endless series of absurd situations that we must endure. Every event is connected to God’s purposes to glorify Himself! Through it we can enjoy the blessing of His presence and His work to bring us into conformity to the image of Jesus (Ps. 16:11; Rom. 8:29).
The book of Job reveals to us that he served God simply because God IS. He did not serve God for business prosperity or a family legacy. He did not even serve God for health and wealth. No, the final chapters of Job teach us that Job served and worshipped God because God IS. God is righteous and just. Job may not have understood the spiritual battles going on in the angelic conflict (Job 1-2), but he would learn about them in eternity as he experienced God’s glorious blessings and His very real presence. His faith was tested and he was strengthened. Job withstood the slander of the accuser as was revealed through the insinuations and criticisms of his friends. He gained a much greater understanding of the knowledge and wisdom of God’s plan for life, and revealed that personal sin is not always the basis for suffering.
This book also teaches us that when suffering is endured there will be blessing to follow, possibly here on earth, but especially in eternity (Rom. 8:18)!
Suffering is Designed for Blessing
All suffering in a Christian’s life is designed for blessing! Job proclaimed, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”(Job 13:15 NKJ) Peter wrote,
7 …that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1 Pet. 1:7-8 NKJ)
The Christian’s faith is too precious to God to let it not be tested, to let it not be strengthened, and to let it not be found to praise and honor and glory in the revealed presence of Jesus! God loved us enough to send Jesus to suffer for us and because of this He will not let us become spiritual chimps, who only cause trouble like a monkey out of a cage. He wants us walking with Jesus, who modeled what life was about. In fact, Jesus is our model for how to handle suffering,
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness– by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:21-25 NKJ)
Even while suffering, Jesus did not defend Himself or seek personal retaliation. He entrusted Himself to the Father who judges righteously. Peter also wrote, “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” (1 Pet. 4:14 NKJ)