Why do I Suffer?

This is a question that is as ancient as man himself. First we must understand that GOD did not desire that we suffer. Suffering came into being because man chose to sin. There was no suffering in the Garden of Eden until man sinned, and Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned--. Romans 5:12. Man brought suffering into the world by sinning. Much suffering continues in the world caused by men who sin. Sin has long-lasting concequences.

GOD cares very much for us and does not want anyone to suffer. Psalm 116:3-5; The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul! Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

Man's disobedience caused the loss of GOD's blessings. Our bodies are no longer immortal as Adam and Eve were in the garden before they sinned . Therefore we suffer from disease, sickness and physical death. All are the result of sin. Death literally means separation from GOD. Without being in a right (correct) relationship with GOD, we are no longer deserving of GOD's blessings. All that remains for us is to suffer at the hands of the devil. All suffering is inflicted on us by our enemy the devil.

Without being in a right (correct) relationship with GOD we have no hope at all of restoring GOD's blessings to our lives. When a person becomes a Christian that person can then begin to trust that GOD will answer his prayer. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8. The Christian who is in a right (correct) relationship with GOD can trust that GOD will return many of the blessings he lost before he became a Christian. This includes hope of eternal life.

Just because we become Christians does not mean all suffering ceases. It does means that we can begin to rely on GOD who will help us with our burdens. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28. GOD begins to ease our suffering and helps us by carrying our most difficult burdens.

GOD lives in Heaven away from sin and suffering. He wants us to be with Him. He wants us to look beyond this world to Heaven. If there were no suffering in this world, there would be very little desire to go to Heaven and be with GOD. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:3-4.

Suffering therefore helps to remind us that we do not belong on this earth. We belong with GOD our Father. Jesus is preparing a place for every Christian who is willing to obey Him. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3.

Sometime we suffer because of our sin and GOD disciplines us. This occurs not because GOD desires to inflict pain on us but because He wants us to change our mind and return to Him. He does not want anyone to be lost. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Hebrews 12:5-7.

Let us study the life of a very special man in the Old Testament. There was a man named Job who is described in the Book of Job. Then the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? Job 1:8. Job was a very righteous man. For most of Job's life he received many countless blessings from GOD. He was about to learn that even the righteous experience suffering. So Satan answered the LORD and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face! Job 1:9-11. GOD allowed Job to suffer at the hand's of the devil. Job's suffering was brought on by the devil, not GOD. GOD allowed it to happen but only to achieve a far greater purpose in GOD's plan. We may not fully understand but GOD is able to use our circumstances of suffering and turn them into blessings for us later in our life, as we shall learn from Job's experience. GOD also knew that the outcome of Job's suffering would far outweigh the limited amount of suffering that Job would experience. This is not to minimize the suffering that Job experienced. He lost his entire family except for his wife and was in great pain for months. The book of Job would become an ageless example of the suffering of the righteous, and a source of encouragement for us.

First we must understand that we are not alone in our suffering. GOD experienced the agony of suffering himself in the person of his Son. Jesus came to live and die as the Son of GOD that we might have hope. He experienced hunger in the wilderness for forty days. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. But He answered and said, It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:2-4. He certainly knew what it was to be cold or to experience the heat of summer. He lived as a carpenter's son for over thirty years. He knew what it was like to go without sleep. He was even tempted by sin and had to resist without sinning, to accomplish GOD's greatest sacrifice for us. Hebrew 4:15; For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus, the Son of GOD, experienced what each of us experience every day to help us with our own suffering.

Perhaps the greatest suffering man will face is the fear of death. Jesus went before us to take away this fear by overcoming death with the hope of a resurrection to eternal life with GOD. Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,.. Hebrews 5:7-9.

Jesus feared death as we do, but He especially feared death on the cross. He understood what kind of death He would suffer, as He knelt down in the Garden. Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. Matthew 26:38-39. Jesus prayed three times to his Heavenly Father to be spared the death on the cross. This is the death that would satisfy GOD's justice for our sins. We deserved to be on that cross in His place, each of us dying for our own sins. He did not deserve it. Jesus thus became the perfect sacrifice in our place. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Hebrew 2:9-11.

When we share in suffering as a Christian, GOD sees us as part of His family. We become part of the family of GOD by sharing in Jesus' suffering. This is especially true when we suffer because of our attempts to be like Christ. Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-2.

Remember! We previously considered the suffering of Job. Job overcame his suffering at the hands of the devil. Let us see the final outcome of Job's faithfulness to GOD. Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. Job 42:12-13. Christians can have an even better hope today.

Joe Andrasik

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Published in The Old Paths Archive