Believers are often asked why God allows suffering. Those who are experiencing a period of grief, sorrow, or pain often seek an answer to this question in the hopes it will help them to make some sense of their circumstances. There are no easy answers. Only the Lord truly knows why He permits difficulties and pain in our lives, but the Bible does give us hope and encouragement to strengthen us when we face trials.
II Corinthians 1:3-6 tells us:
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
The Lord is the God of all comfort. When we undergo difficult times in our lives, God wants us to know that He is there to give us the comfort and help that we need. When things are going well in our lives, sometimes we forget about the Lord. We become so wrapped up in our everyday events that we fail to spend much quality time with Him. Yet when turbulent times come, we turn to the Lord for answers and comfort. The Lord is there for us through the victories and through the trials. We never have to face a storm alone.
Verse 4 states: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” There is great peace in knowing that the Lord is going to use our time of sorrow and grieving to teach us how to help another. During times of crisis and trouble, people truly do want to be a help and a blessing. The greatest comfort is found in the counsel and support of one who has experienced the very trial that we are going through. What an encouragement and help it is to know that someone else has been there and that God gave them the grace and the strength to survive the storm. Somehow it is easier to endure pain when we know that the Lord is going to use it for our good and for the good of others.
Why does God allow suffering? First of all, so that we may be a help and comfort to others.
Secondly, the Bible tells us in I Peter 4:19 “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit he keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” Why does God allow suffering? God allows suffering to see how faithful we are to serving Him. Do we serve the Lord only in the good times, or are we faithful in the hard times as well? Many people turn their backs on the Lord when things take a turn for the worse in their lives. They reason that if this is what serving the Lord is going to do for them then they might as well live for themselves. But the truth is the Lord never promised the Christian life would be easy.
Trials come into our lives for our own good. When a jeweller refines gold, he must subject it to the highest heat in order to allow the impurities in the gold to rise to the surface so that he can skim them off and leave behind only the purest gold. So it is with our Heavenly Father. When the Lord turns up the heat in our lives, it is because He has to skim off all of the impurities that He sees, so that when He is finished with the refining process, He can see His reflection in us. It is often during these times that we are most tempted to quit, but the purpose in this suffering is to show the Lord that we love Him, and we will continue to serve Him faithfully in the good times and in the bad.
Thirdly, God allows suffering to come into our lives to prove to us what we are made of. It takes no strength whatsoever to quit. God holds out His highest praise for those who hang on through the tough times; those who trust Him to help them through. The Bible tells us in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” Only the Lord knows how much we can handle. Often we underestimate ourselves and what we are capable of. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” It is through these times of testing that we are made stronger and better for Jesus. It is difficult, but at the end of the trial, our walk with the Lord has been deepened because we have learned what it means to lean solely on Him.
Are you enduring a period of suffering? Do you need the assurance that God is still in control and caring for you? Contact Anchor of Hope Ministry now at (306) 940-9554. We would love to talk with you.