This is Part 3 of 4 parts answering the question, “How can you be released from the suffering God allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.
The Christian’s Solution Is Hope
Christians do not know how long their suffering will last. It may be a day or a lifetime, but will ultimately will all end at death. There will be no more sorrow or tears (Rev. 21:4). Therefore, growing Christians will fix their eyes on the Lord as their solution and hope, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13 NKJ) Believer, you are most blessed if you fix your eyes on Him!
Stanley Toussaint provides an excellent example: the hope chest women often secure in preparation for marriage,
It is not desire by itself or expectation by itself. The two must go together. It used to be common for a single woman to have a hope chest – a cedar box with items to be used after marriage, including pillowcases, sheets, towels, and so forth. That hope chest was a tangible expression of desire with expectation. In Romans 5:2 the believers’ hope is for the glory of God. That is the background of verses 3–5: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” However, suffering by itself does not produce perseverance and endurance.2
There Is One Means of Release From Suffering
You may try your very best to protect yourself from the agonies of life, whether your efforts involve achieving financial independence, building a survival castle on an island in the Pacific, or isolating yourself from anyone who might cause you harm, you cannot escape suffering this side of heaven. The release will ultimately come only by going through the door called death and waiting on the Lord’s final Judgment Seat (2 Cor. 5:10). That will be a glorious day, for every person who enters heaven will receive some praise from God (1 Cor. 4:5). How will you pass through that door of death?
In the Old Testament, only a very few escaped death. For example, Enoch walked so closely with God that the Lord snatched him up (Gen. 5:24). Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire (2 King 2:11). Everyone else had to walk through the door of death, whether on the battlefield, because of foolish decisions, or in their sleep.
In the New Testament, an event is described that is likely to happen very soon! A generation of genuine Christians will be raptured to heaven when the Lord returns in the clouds (1 Thes. 4:13-18). That generation will not die, but instead be transformed and taken to heaven during the Tribulation period. In their resurrection body, there will be no more pain or agonies. Everyone else will walk through the door of death.
Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.