Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.””
Job 2:10b NKJV
Suffering is not a popular subject but it is covered in the Bible and it is a part of life, so we need to understand it rightly. Some think because God is good there is no ultimate purpose in any type of suffering or when things don’t go our way.
Those same people will quote Romans 8:28 not realizing that if all things work together for good, that has to mean that everything is not independently good. Joseph told his brothers that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. That kind of thinking can be hard to grasp but it is necessary if we are going to successfully walk in the way of Christ.
Let’s look at a few more Scriptures to gain some understanding of the purpose of suffering.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 NKJV “Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.”
2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
And of course we remember that James wrote that the trial of our faith produces patience.
None of us like suffering and I’m not saying we should pray that we would suffer. The right view of suffering however is that no matter what we may go through God has a purpose in it. This can be hard to believe at times, yet when we trust God in the midst of suffering we have the promise of the comfort of the Spirit.
Look at the lives of Joseph, Job, Paul, they all suffered. Yet in the midst of suffering God watched over them and took care of them. They held on to God. Job didn’t sin by accusing God, he trusted him through very difficult circumstances. We need to follow their examples.
Romans 8:18 NKJV “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.”
Take time to read Romans chapter eight. Consider the trials and sufferings of Joseph, Job and Paul. Think about how they handled suffering and how they trusted God through it. How does that impact how you see suffering?