Suffering is real. How can we make sense of it? What can we learn from
it? Can we overcome it?
People have different ideas about what is wrong with our world. Obviously
economic injustice, political factors, racism, religious hatred and greed
are factors in the existence of suffering. But they are not the only ones.
They all point to a far more insidious source – one which is in fact not
at all far from our human hearts.
Suffering and pain tell us that something is wrong. If it wan’t for
the fact that we suffer and experience pain, we might become totally detached
and say that “all is well”. While some might try to push that philosophy
even today, reality has a way of intruding on us. We will never be able
to totally escape from pain even by means of drugs, or suicide. The reason
for this is that there is an afterlife. This world is only a test to see
who will ultimately choose to love and worship the only One worthy of our
total love and affection – God himself.
Is God really Good? – This is the big question.
At first glance it might seem impossible to answer this in the affirmative.
Many people alternate between hating God and denying his existence. Some,
seeing the evil in religion – including the Christian religion as it is
practiced – see an answer in erasing from our consciousness the belief
The real reason for suffering is that God respects us enough to let
our actions have real consequences. He gives men the possibility to actually
have a huge say in their own eternal destiny, as well as their destiny
on earth. God is looking for people to share His goodness eternally with.
He is looking for a real love relationship. That would be impossible if
we had no real choice in the matter. These real choices do have big effects.
All we do is reverberating throughout eternity and has more consequences
than we could possibly imagine. Bad choices hurt people – including yourself.
Bad choices invite the involvement of evil spirits, which keep people in
bondage to things which bring no lasting satisfaction and often outright
misery and unhappiness.
Have you Been Hurt? If you are suffering,
prayer can make a big difference, if it is offered IN FAITH by someone
who is REAL with God. I’m collecting stories of God’s miracles which He
is doing in modern times. I do not have time to record all the answers
to prayer that I can find strong evidence for. According to Jesus Christ,
you have to forgive others if you want your faith to work, if you want
God to forgive you, or if you want to be free. If you’ve had a bad experience
with some religious group – join the club! – but remember, God Himself
loves you and has made Himself accessable to you, if you will only believe
and trust in Him.
Who Cares? You may not care,
but God does, and we do, too. I didn’t care about anyone else until Jesus
changed my life – but now I’m devoting my life to serving others and co-operating
with God’s purposes. People care about a lot of irrelevant distractions
and entertainments – what will it take for us to see the real value of
knowing God the Creator?
This links to a systematic teaching I prepared which outlines the Biblical
answer to the problem of our sin. How could God forgive us if sin demands
a just punishment? What has God done for us? Please read the article to
Can We Overcome Suffering?
A lot of our suffering is due to our own unwise choices. But we are
actually guaranteed by God that we will suffer persecution if we truly
want to live for Him. Sickness and disease – both physical and emotional
– can generally be overcome in this life by faith in God, but suffering
will remain part of our lives on and off until we pass beyond this temporal
existence into what God has prepared for those who love Him.
For the Christian, suffering helps us to keep our eyes on things of
eternal value, to have compassion on others, to develop patience, to prove
our love and loyalty towards God, and to prove to men the genuineness of
our convictions and our love. It helps us to understand the heart of God
better, because God suffers constantly – because He loves so much.
Don’t just think of your own suffering, but consider the suffering of
God Himself. Jesus Christ was no stranger to suffering. As God in the flesh,
He was certainly willing to take some of his own medicine. He lived, suffered
rejection and died a horrendous death of agony – and it was for you. Couldn’t
you trust in a God like that?
I welcome responses to this message.