In my early years as a Christian, I was stunned at the candor of the writers in the Bible. If you’ve ever looked closely inside the Psalms, you’ve noticed how a writer would soar the heights with praise to God … yet in the next verse plunge to the depths of pain and fear.
Tucked away in the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk even opens his book stating … “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habakkuk 1:2–3).
Candidly, is there anyone who hasn’t said, “Why, God? It’s just not fair! Why would You allow …?” The whys in life are bewildering on this side of heaven and can cause many to wonder if God really cares. It’s true—at times, life is not fair and doesn’t make sense … especially when we are the ones suffering.
Of course, the problem of evil and suffering is nothing new. However, until we enter heaven, we may not understand the real reason for all the injustice in this world … nevertheless God’s Word is not silent about suffering. The Bible reveals that our pain has purpose … our suffering has significance.
God’s Purposes in Suffering
- Suffering can bring glory to God. “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- Suffering gives us another opportunity to trust God. “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19 ESV).
- Suffering can keep us humble. “To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7 NLT).
- Suffering can keep us dependent on God’s power. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Suffering can teach us obedience. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67).
- Suffering can develop maturity. “Consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).
- Suffering can develop compassion for others. “… the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort … comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).
In light of these biblical truths, I want to challenge you to apply these truths personally to your own life. How?
First, consider your current or recent trial. Then review the list again … and ask yourself: What could the Lord be trying to teaching me? If you have pain from your past that you’ve never understood, what did that experience teach you about God … and about yourself?
As you reflect on God’s purpose for allowing your pain, remember He promises to one day end all our suffering. The Bible says, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Until that day, take to heart that your pain is not pointless … and take comfort that the Lord is with you. The Word of God says … “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). This is my favorite Scripture. I pray it will be meaningful to you.
Yours in the Lord’s hope,
P.S. If you need to talk with someone about abuse—or any life issue—please call our Hope Care Center at 1-800-488-HOPE (4673). You can also call me on Hope In The Night at 1-800-Night17 at 11:00 p.m. CST. I would be honored to talk with you. We’re here to provide biblical counsel, prayer support, and resources for any challenge you’re facing.
If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to connect with me at Facebook.com/June.Hunt.Hope. And if you’re not, take it from me: You’re never too old to start! See you there!