This is Part 5 of 5 parts answering the question, “Suffering: What are the Benefits of the Suffering God Allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”
Good Can Come From Suffering
Every member of the human race will suffer in some way and while it is never enjoyable, the Bible teaches us that our trials can produce good. God loves us because He IS love. He loves His creation, but it defied His Word by sinning.
Fortunately, God can restore all things and will make all wrongs right when He removes sin from the world.
Even though God hates sin, He can never tempt, abandon, or hate anyone. He is always within the reach of our cry for help during our suffering. He has sent the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to reassure us in the midst of our trials, and formed the Body of Christ to provide consolation by being His hands and feet. Just as Jesus wept over Lazarus’ death, so He weeps over our anguish because of its ultimate cause – the entrance of sin into the world. Our responsibility is to uphold each other as we go through our trials.
One of the greatest chapters of the Bible is Psalm 119. The psalmist wrote, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” (Ps. 119:71 NKJ) Even the Lord Jesus, in His humanity, learned from suffering! This resulted in a good that benefitted the human race,
…in the days of His [Christ’s] flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Heb. 5:7-9 NKJ)
So we, too, have a choice to submit ourselves to the Father’s will and learn through our trials, for what we experience here is not even worthy to be compared to what is to come, “…if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:17-18 NKJ)
In fact, we have no real idea of the blessing that will come through suffering, because we will not understand until our arrival in glory! However, Scripture teaches the beauty of the refining process,
10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. (Job 23:10-11 NKJ)
Are there benefits to suffering? Yes! And this chapter has only begun to scratch the surface of them but it gives a glimpse “through a glass darkly” of the loving intentions of our Good God and Savior!
1) When you think of benefits, do you think of them as something that comes from trials? In what way or what way not?
2) What do you think about while realizing that your suffering might be used as a visual aid to the world around you? How do you respond?
3) What are some other things that suffering has taught you that were not mentioned?
4) When was a time in your own suffering that you were brought closer to the Lord Jesus?
5) How difficult is it for you to think about the “good” that can come from suffering? What do you think you might need to investigate further in order to grow in your understanding of it?
1Joni Eareckson Tada, “Redeeming Suffering,” Why, O God. (Wheaton, Crossways, 2011), p. 18.
2Ibid., p. 20.
3Daniel Thomson, “A Biblical Disability-Ministry Perspective,” Why, O God. (Wheaton, Crossways, 2011), p. 24.
4Larry Waters, “Suffering in the Book of Job,” Why, O God. (Wheaton, Crossways, 2011), p. 119.
7Ibid., p. 120.
9Victor Anderson, “Pastoral Care and Disability,” Why, O God. (Wheaton, Crossways, 2011), p. 234.