Why suffering?

What is the reason for your suffering? I don’t know. It’s dangerous to want to know “why” when it comes to suffering. You’re not God, His ways are not your ways, and actually, you don’t have a right to demand answers. Besides, it’s not possible to have all the answers in our small, sinful, human minds. And, if you did know all the reasons why, you wouldn’t have any need for faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. When it comes to suffering and “why?”, we’re better off NOT guessing or supposing. You can’t “armchair quarterback” God’s purposes in suffering.

Thankfully, God DOES give us some reasons for suffering. God wants to grow His children in holiness and maturity so that we will be ready to meet Him when we die, or He returns, whichever comes first. Suffering builds character and perseverance and hope. It forces us back to God and His Word, to trust Him in all things. Richard Baxter said, “Suffering so unbolts the door of the heart, that the Word has easier entrance.” In suffering, we are comforted by God and we can comfort others. When we suffer well, it glorifies God and gives us a better witness to those who don’t know Him. Suffering is God’s means to strengthen our assurance of knowing and being with Him. Suffering will prove your faith genuine, and if you are suffering because of God’s discipline, it is out of love. He is treating you as a loving Father raises, trains, and disciplines His children. I appreciate what John Piper said, “I have never heard anyone say, ‘The really deep lessons of life have come through times of ease and comfort.’ But I have heard strong saints say, ‘Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with Him, has come through suffering.’” Suffering weans us off ourselves and forces our focus upon the Lord, where it belongs.

I’m sorry if you are suffering today. I don’t know the specific reasons why, but It’s OK if you don’t know why you’re suffering. Avoid the danger of needing to know why. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” The Lord is with you in your suffering, to comfort you and sustain you through it. We can praise Him for how much He’s already told us of how He uses suffering for good. Strange as it may sound, we can rejoice in our sufferings. Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice!