One family's journey to hear God's calling, overcome our fears, and be obedient to Him!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why Must We Suffer?

Most of us, at some point in our life has asked: God, why must I suffer? God, why do you allow your children to suffer? We have all experienced suffering in our life. It might be personal illness, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job. For others it may be a devastating earthquake or trying to provide food and water each day for their family. God provides us with answers to these questions in the Bible.

The Bible has many verses that teach us why God’s children endure trials and suffering. No single verse can answer every question. But let's look at a verse that tells us something that we all need to know. This scripture provides important knowledge for seeing the hand of God at work in the worst times of our life.

So truly rejoice. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, though your faith is far more precious than gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. ~ 1 Peter 1:6-7

Notice two important words in this scripture.

The first word is “trials”. The word “trials” appears often in the New Testament. It means “tests”. When we take tests in school, we either pass or fail. The same is true of the tests of life. Many of these tests are at the hands of Satan. How we respond to these tests reveals what is in our heart for all to see. For example, when trouble comes our way:

We may turn to God in prayer, or we may become angry.
We may become quiet in thought, or we may talk with a wicked tongue.
We may become full of love, or we may become full of hate.
We may learn new trust in God, or we may rebel against Him.
We may take courage, or we may give in to fear.
We may draw close to God, or we may turn away from Him.

When tested we must choose how to respond. When we fail we give Satan a foothold. But when we respond to these tests with acts of Faith, non-believers will be drawn to the Glory of God. Our response to these tests reveals if we have the Holy Spirit living in our hearts.

The second word comes from the phrase, “truly rejoice.” The word “rejoice” comes from the word “joy”. Joy comes from God. Joy comes from satisfaction with God. When we are satisfied with God, we will have joy even in the hardest moments of life. Joy is the ability to face the tests of suffering in our life.

Let’s look at the heart of Peter’s message. The scripture says we face trials so that our Faith, of greater worth than gold, may be purified and tested. God gives us trials for two reasons: One is to prove our faith in God is real. Two is to purify our Faith. As our Faith grows pure, and strong, we grow closer to the one who suffered death on a cross, Jesus.

The verse closes by saying: when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

We all face difficult trials and suffering. But our suffering pales in comparison to the suffering Jesus endured for our sake, death on a cross. God wants us to know that our suffering is meant to purify and strengthen our Faith in Him, and that our suffering will not last forever. The day is near that our suffering will end, and we will inherit all of His blessings!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, no more suffering, no more pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new! What I tell you is trustworthy and true. It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” ~ Revelations 21:1-7