This is Part 5 of 6 parts answering the question, “How should we live during the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 6 will be posted tomorrow.
We Need To Consider Our Own Responsibilities
In the same way we trusted by faith the Lord Jesus, we also need to trust Him in the midst of our trials. Why do trials come our way? There are several possible causes:
First of all, because we have sinned and/or acted foolishly, God the Father may be imposing Divine discipline because of His infinite love for us (Heb. 12:5-6). There is no godly father who will let his child wander away from the right path into a poison ivy patch or onto a freshly frozen pond! In the same way, God the Father will use any means necessary to get us “back on track,” which is often called chastening.
Secondly, as we just discussed, there are the temptations and exploits of Satan as he hurls his abuses against us. We need the full armor of God (Eph. 6:13-18). Without that armor, Satan seeks to devour us like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). In fact, the more righteous a person is, the more attacks Satan and his minions will launch in order to distract and confuse. For this reason, it is imperative that the Christian live a holy life of dependence on Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, we may simply fail to use common sense! A good example of this is walking through the house at night with the lights off and stubbing a toe. I have personally broken a toe by doing that and the temporary pain was dreadful. There are many other ways to suffer under natural laws (like failing to respect gravity and walking off a cliff), so become wise about life and avoid poor choices as much as possible.
And, sometimes you will suffer through no fault of your own. The point is, God will not stop you from sinning and He will not stop you from suffering in the course of this life! Remember, there will be a time ( for believers) when all suffering is removed. Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus until that time – no matter the reason for your suffering, your motivation and pursuit is still the same. Paul wrote,
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:8-14 NKJ)
If that is your motivation and pursuit, then you will seek to live a life that is holy and pleasing to Him!
Part 6 will be posted tomorrow.