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As I continued my devotions today in Job I couldn’t help but ponder the thought about why God allows us to suffer. I also thought about the fact that there is coming a day where all suffering will end for the Saint. Revelation 21:4 tells us that one day he will wipe away all tears, and that pain, sorrow, and death will pass away. That is a blessed promise and I think that really is what Job was looking for when you read in Job where he mourns the day of his birth and looks forward to the end of his days. He was looking for a day when his sorrows would end. The question still stands though why does God allow suffering in the first place if he is a loving God.

Where Suffering Started

There was a time where even here on earth there was no suffering. In the beginning God created a perfect world where there was no suffering, no death and no pain. This was of course before Adam and Eve sinned. It was God’s plan that man live without having to experience sorrow, that we would live in peace with each other and even with nature itself. However, man choose to sin and not obey God and thus brought an end to the peace that existed between God and man as well as brought sorrow into this world. In Genesis 3:16-19 God says to them, “16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.  17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”  With sin comes the first time we see the mention of sorrow in scripture. So the sorrow that we see today is not the work of an unjust God but is the result of man’s sin. We suffer because we are sinners. The ultimate result of sin is death. Romans 3:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

Of course the immediate response to this is that I didn’t do anything wrong. Well we are all sinners and Romans 3:10 tells us that there is non righteous no not one. So sin is what started the suffering in this world and it is why many suffer today but there are other reasons for suffering as well.

Some Suffer so They Find Christ

God has been known to cause some to suffer in order that through their suffering they might find him. By God allowing some people to suffer it causes them to come to a realization that they are missing something or that they need something else in their life. I have dealt with people and seen them come to the Lord because of the pain they were experiencing in their life. Sometimes it is marital trouble sometimes it is sickness. When people come to the end of their rope they start to realize they need help and God is the only one that can heal them. I remember dealing with an 83 year old man who was dying from cancer, if he had not been dealing with cancer I may never had the opportunity to talk with him about Christ. He came to the Lord shortly before his death. It was his suffering that brought him to Christ.

I don’t believe God enjoys watching others suffer but he does allow it if it will humble us to the point of seeing a need for Christ in our life. We have several examples in scripture of God allowing others to suffer to bring them to himself. The leprous and the blind during his earthly ministry seek him. The Centurion the nobleman seek him due to others suffering. Naman in the OT suffered and was brought to God’s prophet.
Nebuchadnezzar was made low through suffering to bring him to a point he could recognize God. God even allowed his close friend Lazarus to suffer and die in order to bring others to Christ.

Some Suffer because of God’s Chastisement

God also tells us in his word that sometimes Christians suffer because of their disobedience toward him. We can all think of examples I am sure of people in scripture that suffered because of disobeying God. The easiest example might be David and his sins. First, he sinned with Bathsheba and God allowed his child to die. Second, he numbered the people and God sent pestilence and 70,000 people die. We shouldn’t think we are greater lest we fall ourselves. We just need to remember those whom the Lord loves them he chastens.

Some Suffer because they are God’s Children

God tells us in His word that the righteous shall suffer persecution. (2 Tim 3:12) That means that if we are doing what God wants us to do we will probably suffer at times just for doing what is right. Again we can look to scripture and see that the apostle’s, Paul, David, Jospeh, and many more all suffered for doing what the Lord wanted them to do. So sometimes we suffer just because we are Christians and the world hates us the same way it hated Christ.

Lastly, Some Suffer to Learn more about God

It is important to note, and the reason I even started to write this, that not all suffering is because of sin or disobedience. I started to ponder this whole thing because I was reading about Job. Job was suffering not because of his sin, nor because of other reasons but so that the Lord might teach him, his friends, and Satan more about himself. Some people tell you that we suffer because of lack of faith that is not always true. The Apostle Paul did not live in sin nor did he live a disobedient lifestyle but God allowed him suffer to learn more of God’s Grace (2 Corinthians 12:7) God allowed Paul to suffer to keep him humble and keep him from being exalted above measure. Sometimes God allows us to go through things to make us stronger. I believe that he allowed Joseph to go through his trials to make him stronger. James 1 tells us “2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

The truth of the matter is that God allows suffering for various reasons but he still knows what is best. He never makes a mistake. David said in Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes. We should have the same thought. As Job says the Lord gives and the Lord takes away blessed be the name of the Lord. If we are a Christian then we can rejoice in the fact that one day Christ will return and will make a new heaven and a new earth and we will again be able to experience life without suffering and sorrow. Until then we should trust God even in the midst of our sorrow and learn the lessons that he has for us. I pray that the Lord will give me the patience of Job in the midst of my trials as well.

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