This is Part 5 of 5 parts answering the question, “Why does God allow suffering for new creations?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”
Christians Must Trust God’s Ability to Use Suffering to Conform
Even in the life of a “new creation,” when suffering persists, the purposes for it may begin to blur. The agony can distract the believer from giving thanks in the difficulty and remembering that God is still in control (1 Thes. 5:18). He becomes miserable enough and stretched to the extreme, so he must be tied to grace and God’s ability to use the suffering to conform the believer to the image of Jesus. Paul wrote,
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, (Rom. 8:28-29 NKJ)
God accomplishes His will through His Word, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:11 NKJ) We as believers desire so much for this suffering to stop! However, we still live under the principles from His Word and will continue to experience it until our end of time on this earth. We still have a sin nature that God seeks to bring into conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He uses suffering in that process. Therefore, we must keep entrusting ourselves to the Father of glory.
- What should a person do when his suffering doesn’t make sense to him?
- What reasons would you give one who says he should no longer suffer, because Jesus took away the effects of sin on the cross?
- How would you disciple (teach, instruct) a person who is struggling with the suffering he is going through? Explain a five or six principle pattern to consider while coming alongside him to explain so he understands (instead of how YOU might want to explain it).
- When will a person be free from suffering? How would you explain that to one who does not trust in the Lord Jesus?
- How would you disciple another to help him understand how God might use suffering to conform him to His holiness?
1These are found in Question Four of Part 3.
2Waters, Larry. “Suffering in the Book of Job,” in Why, O God?(Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), p. 124.