This is Part 1 of 3 parts answering the question, “Is the Joy of Jesus Greater Than the Suffering God Allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-3 will be posted on succeeding days.
Salvation does not deliver you from suffering on earth. In fact, it more that likely intensifies it! That doesn’t make sense from the human perspective, does it? We tend to believe that God “ought” to give us victory from the agonies of life, because that is what victors achieve! Those who win get the glory, the prize and the rewards. So, how could it be God’s will that His people suffer and what is His solution? There are several parts of this solution.
Through Suffering You Learn What True Joy Is
Peter wrote that if you are a Christian, you count on facing suffering as an expected part of life after salvation,
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (1 Pet. 4:12-14 NKJ)
Remember, Peter was not writing to a class of students studying theology. He wrote to those who were in the midst of suffering and were wondering why they were in such troubles,
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, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (1 Pet. 1:6-8 NKJ)
Your source of true joy is your relationship with the Lord Jesus that becomes far more real that the circumstances of life. When you know that you will be with Him forever, the “things of this world” grow “strangely dim” and He becomes clearer in your focus.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.