This is Part 3 of 5 parts answering the question, “Can there be peace in a world filled with suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 4-5 will be posted on successive days.
God’s Peace Helps Us See God’s Purity Purposes
When a believer in the Lord Jesus entrusts himself to the sovereignty of God, he begins to see God’s purposes through suffering. For example, he will accept that trials are part of the purifying process of being set apart for God’s will. Peter wrote,
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 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. (1 Pet. 1:6-7 NKJ)
The Christian that accepts God’s hand in working everything out for His own glory will also accept that God’s love includes doing what is best for him also (Rom. 8:28,37-39). In fact, the trials are considered a part of discipleship and the maturing process of growth,
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jam. 1:2-4 NKJ)
How can trials be joyous? This can only happen when one is filled with the Holy Spirit and enjoying the peace of God. His perspective remains vertical as he trusts the sovereignty of God’s work, rather than horizontal when he focuses on the pain and anguish.
God’s Peace Helps Us See God’s School of Compassion
When we respond to suffering in a God-honoring way, we experience His comfort. This is designed to help us become more sympathetic to others as we serve as His hands and feet,
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4 NKJ)
We don’t have to go through the exact kind of suffering as another to become sympathetic to them, but the trials that we endure can be a bridge to those who are in the midst of trials. These struggles can bring about a softening of our own souls to help us be more open to listening and understanding others who are in their own tribulations.
We can learn the hard way or the easy way while enrolled in God’s school of compassion. He desires that we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Either way, we are commanded to come alongside others to help them in their troubles (1 Thes. 5:14). Are you a good student of the Lord?
Part 4 will be posted tomorrow.