Are you wondering sometimes that despite being a faithful Christian, you still experience suffering? After all what you’ve done, (going to Church, sharing the word of God, worshipping God,) your effort seems not enough and God is not recognizing it.
Some Christians, especially new ones, thought that Christian life is a walk in the park. They thought that God’s protection includes immunity to sickness, problems, calamities, financial problems, accidents, and deaths. So when a problem occurs, we are surprised and start to question God.
Before you question God (although it is advised to immediately pray and talk to God when problems occur), discover the reasons why Christians experience sufferings.
Christians experience suffering because we live in an imperfect world
Suffering is inevitable because we live in an imperfect world. This includes the reason that we live with unbelievers and sinners. How much we avoid interacting with non-believers, each person’s actions can affect people around them, and that includes you. We suffer because of the crimes and evil acts. We are also affected even by the simplest acts of non-believers. An example would be when a person smokes in a public place. You can inhale the smoker’s nicotine and could give you disease. Another one is a when you share a road with a drunk driver. Although God truly protects His children, we are still not immune with sickness and minor accidents.
However, this category doesn’t give us the reason or permission to blame ALL our sufferings to others because some of our sufferings are just consequences of our own acts.
Christians, after being saved, still commit sin. We are not immune to sin. And the consequence of sin, aside from death, is suffering. Actually, most of our sufferings are a cause of our sin. We can go back as early as the time of Adam and Eve. They are supposed to live eternally in the Garden of Eden which is a paradise on earth. They have everything including a direct communication with God. But pride and disobedience caused them to sin and has bound to die. We also lost our direct communication with God. In simpler terms, if we are already saved and still smoke, we will definitely get sick and get cancer. If we are Christians and still drink alcohol, we could mostly get into accidents. While some of our sufferings are direct consequences of our sins, some are punishment or correction from God. Our sins might not have consequences, but God will surely correct our sins. But this is actually a good sign because through this, He considers us as His children. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:6-9:
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
We must recognize His correction and our sins and repent back to God. This will stop the suffering and learn that we sin against God and prevent it to be repeated in the future.
Christians also suffers because God wants to try our faith. He wants to see if we are still Christians even in suffering, not only in prosperity. He wants to see us trust Him whenever we have problems. He wants to see us standing by His side even if it looks like He already abandoned us. My favorite example of this is Job.
Suffering also allowed by God to produce spiritual growth or maturity. Suffering strengthens our faith. While we experience suffering, we also experience the power of God. The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Through suffering, we become witnesses to God’s miracle, love, and compassion.
Also, our spirit is like our physical body, the more we work or lift weights, the more we build muscle and get stronger. The seemingly big problems before are becoming simpler after we experience them. While we become stronger, we also become smarter.
Every time you experience suffering, bear in mind that it is only temporal. Whether it’d be because of sin (ours or others’), or God’s calling, or trial, remember that there will be always hope. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18
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