by Chad at Truthbomb Apologetics
This post was originally featured on Apologetics315 here. Thanks to Brian Auten for permission to feature it on Truthbomb.
When difficulties, trials, and suffering come in our lives, often the first question we ask is, “why?” How could God allow this? Why does God allow suffering at all? Could there be any purpose in suffering?
Joni Eareckson Tada knows hardship firsthand and shares her experiences and reflections on suffering in many of her books. The following is an appendix from her book When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.
1. Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
2. God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).
3. Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
4. Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
5. Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).
6. Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).
7. Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).
8. Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10; Rom 8:28-29).
9. Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).
10. Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8; Ps 119:67; Rom 5:1-5;James 1:2-8; Phil 3:10).
11. Voluntary suffering is one way to demonstrate the love of God (2 Cor 8:1-2, 9).
12. Suffering is part of the struggle against sin (Heb 12:4-13).
13. Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men (Ps 27:12; 37:14-15).
14. Suffering is part of the struggle for the kingdom of God (2 Thess 1:5).
15. Suffering is part of the struggle for the gospel (2 Tim 2:8-9).
16. Suffering is part of the struggle against injustice (1 Pet 2:19).
17. Suffering is part of the struggle for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41; 1 Pet 4:14).
18. Suffering indicates how the righteous become sharers in Christ’s suffering (2 Cor 1:5; 1 Pet 4:12-13).
19. Endurance of suffering is given as a cause for reward (2 Cor 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12).
20. Suffering forces community and the administration of the gifts for the common good (Phil 4:12-15).
21. Suffering binds Christians together into a common or joint purpose (Rev 1:9).
22. Suffering produces discernment, knowledge, and teaches us God’s statutes (Ps 119:66-67, 71).
23. Through suffering God is able to obtain our broken and contrite spirit which He desires (Ps 51:16-17).
24. Suffering causes us to discipline our minds by making us focus our hope on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6, 13).
25. God uses suffering to humble us so He can exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6-7).
26. Suffering teaches us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:7-12).
27. Suffering is sometimes necessary to win the lost (2 Tim 2:8-10; 4:5-6).
28. Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak (2 Cor 1:3-11).
29. Suffering is small compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).
30. God desires truth in our innermost being and one way He does it is through suffering (Ps 51:6; 119:17).
31. The equity for suffering will be found in the next life (Ps 58:10-11).
32. Suffering is always coupled with a greater source of grace (2 Tim 1:7-8; 4:16-18).
33. Suffering teaches us to give thanks in times of sorrow (1 Thess 5:17; 2 Cor 1:11).
34. Suffering increases faith (Jer 29:11).
35. Suffering allows God to manifest His care (Ps 56:8).
36. Suffering stretches our hope (Job 13:14-15).
Out of His deep love for us God is more interested in making His children like Christ than He is in making us comfortable. The glory He receives from redeeming depraved sinners like us and remaking us into His image will be the song that fills the halls of heaven for all eternity (Rev 5:9-10). Since that will be the case in the future, let us pursue joy in the Lord here in the present.
Courage and Godspeed,
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