Dear Precious Friends,
On this Wonderful Wednesday because this is the day the Lord has made and we rejoice and are glad in it, despite the current circumstances. I'm sharing today on suffering because it's the question I get asked the most... why does God allow suffering... We know that when Eve took of the fruit, sin entered the world.
What we have to remember is that suffering is not the end for those in Christ, but only momentary. Revelation 21:4 tells us that at the consummation of Heaven and Earth, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” One day, we will live in a glorified world in glorified bodies where suffering no longer exists.
This is why Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” So when we try to wrestle with the problem of suffering, we must first remember that suffering in this life is not the worst thing that can happen to us, because, as Christians, we have infinitely greater joy awaits us.
Why must we suffer in this life and why does God cause it? I love to remember this truth, God doesn't cause suffering but He may allow it for further reasons... In Romans 8:17, Paul reveals this wonderful promise that we are children of God, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Notice that Paul says “provided we suffer…” As terrible as suffering is now, we must keep an eternal perspective in mind. Paul understood this when he said that we should rejoice in our sufferings because it produces endurance, character, and ultimately hope (Romans 5:3-5).
I love studying Paul... He is such an example of redemption and living for Jesus. He writes to Live is Christ, to Die is Gain... Phil 1:21.... and He lived this!!! Can any of us truly say this here on this earth.... That is the ultimate goal to live is Christ, to Die is Gain because we are with Jesus eternally! We are only here because we have work to do and He only takes us home when our work is done!!! Did you notice when Paul said we must suffer in Romans 8:17, he says that we must “suffer with Christ…” When we suffer, we don’t suffer alone, but for Jesus and with Jesus (Philippians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 1:5). And it’s because of this truth that we not only accept that God causes suffering, or rest assured that one day we will experience the glory it produces, but we can embrace our suffering with joy even in the midst of it.
We must remember that there is not a single ounce of suffering that you or I have endured that Christ has not also endured. Throughout his life, Jesus experienced sorrow, rejection, and pain ( Isaiah 53:3; Mark 13:34). On the cross, He who knew no sin became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He became the guilty and the victimized; the murderer and the murdered; the adulterer and the abused; the wicked and the preyed upon.
Therefore, in our suffering, whether it’s physical pain, emotional pain, or the guilt and shame of our own sins, we are suffering with Christ and identify with Him at the deepest level. It is in the very moments suffering, that we not only grow closer to Christ, but we become more like Him. This is why Paul said, I want to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10-11).
Further, when we suffer with Christ, we better understand His deep, self-sacrificial love for us. After all, the most vivid way God showed his love for us was by suffering and dying on a cross (John 3:16). And as we experience His love, we grow one step closer to love Him more intimately as well as better understand how to love our neighbors and enemies as He does.
When we wrestle with the problem of suffering, we should know that as Christians, suffering is not the end, and it certainly is not pointless. We must look to Jesus and realize that He causes our suffering and works it for our good (Romans 8:18) so that we may know Him and be more like Him in both his death and resurrected glory. I am confident that one day we will look back and see that it was all worth it.
NOW MY SWEET FRIENDS, CAN I GET AN AMEN!