There is a lot of suffering going around these days. Shootings, hurricanes and floods, divorce, suicide, and loss are rampant. I’m sure you’re suffering in some way today as well. Take heart: suffering is your last chance to trust in the Lord and live by faith. There will be no suffering in heaven! For now, though, we live in tension between God’s love and goodness and our suffering and tragedy. Today, suffering is an opportunity for you to have faith grounded in God. Don’t fear when you suffer. But questions remain: Where does suffering come from? How can you live and suffer well for His glory? How can you have faith and trust Him in your suffering?
Suffering is a part of our world today, but it wasn’t always, and it won’t always be. In the beginning, God created, and all was good. There was no suffering until Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve fell in sin. Because of their rebellion, God decreed the curse in Genesis 3:16-19. Why is there suffering? The origin of suffering is sin and in that sense, all suffering is because of sin. But there is good news! From Genesis 3 on, God has been working His plan of redemption. It involves saving people to worship Him, through Jesus. And the good news is that suffering will be over at the end of the story, in Revelation 21-22. But for now, there is evil and suffering.
We are always to trust God in our suffering. Job was a blameless and upright man of a large family, with great wealth, and honorable reputation. He faced tragedy, loss, and undeserved suffering. He asked in Job 2:10, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not curse God, Job did not sin with his lips. He trusted and had faith in the hardest of times. Likewise, Habakkuk the rancher and farmer prayed in the midst of his hard season, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord’ I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places (Habakkuk 3:17-19).” God’s ways are above our ways, and we are to trust and depend on Him in all things. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28),” even our suffering.
CS Lewis said, “God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pain. He uses pain and suffering to shout to a deaf world.” Your suffering should draw you closer to the Lord today. You can live and suffer well for His glory. Your faith and trust can grow in these hard times. Be comforted.