Throughout our lives, every one of us is faced with trials and tribulations, difficult times where we must suffer whether that be through bereavement of a family member, enduring serious illness or life situation.
In the bible, we see examples of suffering on numerous occasions whether that be in the Old Testament through Joseph at the hands of his brothers or Jesus at the hands of those who put him to death on the Cross mocking him and ensuring he suffered the worst pain possible,
Many non-Christians ask us if there is a God then why is COVID 19 taking place and a loving God allows such a Global pandemic to occur, causing suffering and death in so many households?
With general suffering, we need to remember that we are in a fallen world and this goes back to Adam and Eve where man made a wrong choice, failing to obey God’s wishes introducing fallenness and sin into the world. In many cases suffering is brought about not because God’s wants to punish us but by man making bad choices and choosing to ignore Him.
However, some suffering caused by natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes are much harder to explain but what I am sure of is that whatever our suffering God will provide you with comfort, love and compassion to deal with it.
We see from Romans that ” We can rejoice when we run into trials for we know that they are good for us and they help to learn how to endure.”
Sometimes, we suffer from facing the consequences of our own sin and at other times is outside our own control, regardless of the reasons, your faith is tested and your character stretched. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul spent 7 years in prison confinement however despite testing times, used this as an opportunity to be a huge blessing to the people in Colosse, Phillipi or Ephesus. Most of us if we have to ensure 7 years in prison would crumble and spend much of the time wallowing in self-pity.
In terms of enduring suffering, God often allows this to happen to us and can test our patience and perseverance, without experiencing hardships it is difficult to grow, if life as good all the time, it would be all too easy for us. Christians will often have to suffer hardships as much as and often even more than non-Christians, too many believers think that because of their faith we should not suffer, this is clearly not the case. God never promised us an easy life.
In 2 Corinthians we read ” Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with hardships, persecutions. For when I am weak then I am strong”
We see from this verse that our suffering can be for positive reasons and that it can be for the “good of Christ” and can advance His Kingdom.
In closing, remember that suffering is part of the life of a believer, it is important that we don’t be too discouraged when it arises but we use God to help us cope with it as it will result in us becoming stronger people and stronger in our faith. Jesus went through immense suffering and they will help us develop endurance. When it arises, don’t become too self-absorbed feeling sorry for ourselves but look at the bigger picture, use God to help you through it and draw on His promise of comfort and Love. We all go through tough times, its you react to it that matters and how we learn from such tribulations. Remember, suffering will result in us becoming more resilient, stronger Christians.