Saturday, July 28, 2012
Why is there suffering in this world? There is one answer that sheds light on this topic very easily. That answer is sin. I am NOT saying that you suffer because of a direct sin that you have done. This could be the case with certain sins, ie. murder, theft, or other such things, you will suffer punishment from earthy powers. However, all suffering is the direct result of the sin that permeates our lives and world. As Christians we need to try to combat sin through the righteousness that has been imputed to us through Christ's work on the cross. We oftentimes hear the phrase, "but they are such a good person" or "what did they do to deserve such suffering?" These statements are not true anyway. I was recently listening to a song by KB and it brought about these thoughts. It said, "Why do the good always suffer and die, they don't, that only happened once." That simple statement has caused me to think deeply the past few days. There has only ever been one good person to live upon this earth. Since that is the case, there are never any "good" people that suffer here on this earth. We only suffer because of the effects that sin has had upon our world, yet, the only reason that sin exists in this world is due to our direct disobedience to the command of God. Therefore, because of the sin that we have brought into the world, we suffer.
Yet, suffering is not always a bad thing. Yes, sometimes it can be very painful and very hard to go through. But would we rather say to God that we wished our life was easy and knew and trusted him little? This rather than to suffer some in this world to be enlightened with the mercy and grace that God has shown to us and to know the great mercy he shows to us daily, to learn how to trust God in everything that we do. Because of the way that God has shown throughout the history of the world that when, the church as a whole or individual Christians, we suffer we grow by amazing leaps and bounds. The church throughout the world has grown in persecuted countries, while here in America the numbers grow while the church does not. I do not mean by church a building and amount of people inside that would claim to attend because of faith. Rather, I mean the church, those that truly worship God in their hearts, not because it looks good, not because it is the easy thing to do, not because it is what their family has always done, but those that serve Christ daily, with or without food, with or without shelter, with or without the promise of life.
We need to suffer as Christians. If we are not suffering in some way, then we are not stepping out of our comfort zones enough. Suffering brings about a change in the way a person sees the world. Many times it brings about two different responses. The first is to curse God and blame him for our suffering. The second is to take joy in knowing that through your suffering you have the gift of being able to express the wonderful grace of God. We can see amazing examples of this throughout scripture. Two great examples are that of Job and Paul. Job has his whole world taken away, all but his wife. Yet, he says that the Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. This is an amazing example of the way that we should approach suffering. Every good thing that we have on this earth is a gift from God, there are no good things that we deserve. Paul's example is also truly eye opening. We see the amazing way that he shares the gospel of Christ with those that he comes in contact with throughout his whole life, and yet he is beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and left for dead more times than not. Yet, he says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
(Philippians 3:8-11 ESV)
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ take great joy in your suffering. Learn what God has to teach you through those trials that come, for they will come. Life will not be easy, but you will be held safely in the arms of Christ if you truly trust in him. No matter what trials come or what dangers you may face, you can take comfort in knowing that you have a savior that intercedes for you each and every day. The Lord of all creation cares for your every NEED and will always carry you through to the end. Use your sufferings to bring glory and praise to His name and those around you will see His glory shining through.