Godly Suffering: Storms of Perfection and Storms of Correction

Regardless of which injustices and unfairness occurs, it's beyond our ability to understand why some suffer unjustly, while others who do wicked prosper. Even though this question has been examined over hundreds of years, mankind just can't comprehend what God is doing behind the scenes (Eccl. 8:17). Even if an old, wise and experienced theologian claims to know full well the reasons why people suffer, don't believe it (Eccl. 3:17). We can't even explain all of our own miseries or even know the exact day that we'll die (Eccl. 8:6-8). However, the children of God can depend on and have faith in His promise that no harm will come to us (Eccl. 8:5, John 10:28-29).

I will not claim that this article explains it all…I would be lying if I did. For the children of God, this will all make perfect sense someday, but today it remains hidden. Even if you’re not a Christian, sorrows can sometimes lead you to God. It may be His way of trying to draw you to Himself (John 6:44). But if you’re a born-again Christian, you can rest assured that the reason will be made clear someday. Only then will it make perfect sense. Knowing that all things will work out for our best, even the bad things, should give us perspective on living with the end in mind (Rom. 8:28).

When gold is refined, it is much more beautiful and infinitely more valuable. And trials can be just like the refiners fire, burning away the unnecessary things. When I get sick, I could care less about College Football. It allowed me to rearrange my priorities. I had to ask myself two questions. Since I also have chronic physical ailments, some self-caused, others inherited, what am I supposed to learn? Even though I'm a born-again Christian, why would I need to suffer? There is a lady in my church that has suffered chronic pain throughout most of her life. She did nothing to deserve this. She's what I would consider a mature-in-the-faith Christian.

But it seems that suffering is no respecter of culture, or of religion, or of the rich or of the poor. It cross-sections those who do good and those who take from others. It's not really whether someone deserves it or not. Poor choices are deserving of bad fortune, but for those who do good and still suffer, there is no humanly achieved answer. My own excuses are just a pile of filthy rags (works). My own works can never guarantee that I won't suffer. But they won't guarantee that I will either. God has something bigger in mind that I can not wrap my mind around.

I can not honestly tell you why He allows suffering for you, for others and for the world in general. This is too much for my finite mind to explain. What the exact reason (or reasons) is, I have no clue; but a reason does exist; of that I am sure! Suffering can humble a person or it can make us ask a lot of introspective questions. It can test the tinsel strength of our faith in God. John MacArthur once said that if there was a gauge for our faith in God, much like a gas gauge in a car, you could read it as such. If you are continually angry at God during trials, the needle would be on E, or nearly empty. But if you can still “bless the name of the Lord” during severe trials an suffering, your faith-tank is nearly full.

There appears to be something bigger going on here that I can not yet see nor wrap my mind around. I must simply be still and know that He is God, He is in charge and He has a plan that is exactly the best thing for me (Psalm 46.10). When I was young I remember getting shots. I hated it and fought it all the way. I was too young to know how this was supposed to help me. My vision was on the here and now, not my future. So, as difficult as things are at times, we may not realized that it was the best thing, but not until much later. For me, I can think of that Great Day, when this old tent (tabernacle) will be thrown off for an eternal body…my mortality will be swallowed up by the Spirit's quickening and immortality (II Cor 5:2).

Enduring is made more bearable when you know that you suffer with Jesus or another Christian friend…someone who knows what you are going through and understands. This helps you cope with it better because when your minds off of you, and on someone else, your focus changes. And God certainly gives us the strength and courage we need to go through things, since He declares He will be an ever-present help when we are in trouble (Psalm 46:1). His strength is found in our weakness.

By the way, this puts you into a unique position. That of personally identifying with others who are going through or suffering from the same things that you do. You can say with all authority, “Yes, I understand”. That’s comforting.

Every good father corrects his children because he loves them and wants what is best for them. God the Father corrects and chastises every child He loves. Don't take it too personal because trials may be storms of correction or storms of perfection. As for me, I've got much dross to burn off, but He is in the refining business anyway. For born-again Christians, suffering is actually a good thing and a God-thing. He is not causing it, but allowing it. This is a fallen world.

Trials keep us humble, to rely on God, to keep us from boasting, to self-assess the strength of our faith, to learn obedience, to realign priorities, and to make us earnestly groan for to be delivered from this earthly bondage and be joined the New Jerusalem. Here will finally be made clear all the reasons for trials, suffering, and heartbreaks. The Father desires to have relationship with us and to depend fully on Him. He gives us the ability to carry on through difficult circumstances. He desires that we trust and rely on His sure Word even when things around us tell us just the opposite.

The Father so passionately desires to give you eternal life that He allowed His Son to endure the greatest suffering that any human has ever experienced. That was the most unfair thing that has ever happened to any person in human history! Jesus' horrible death paid our debt so that we could have joy in the fellowship with the Most High, forever. That is why God the Father allowed the suffering of His One and Only Son; that we could be born again. Someday, all suffering will cease. But for the here and now, you can become a child of God and have eternal security (John 10:28-29). But this is no guarantee of an escape from suffering.

When you receive eternal life, the Holy Spirit opens your understanding of the plan of salvation. No one should ever have to worry that they are not good enough to get saved or that they have too many terrible things they‘ve done. Let now be the time to accept Him and see just how deep are the rivers of His mercy and the oceans of His of grace. Particularly since no one knows what tomorrow will bring, and when we all might appear before the Great Throne of the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. Only then will it be too late. There is still time. And it is not all your responsibility…it is your response to His ability.

From Chapter Five of “Do Babies Go To Heaven?, Why Does God Allow Suffering?” Originally published on: http://www.associatedcontent.com/jackwellman.

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