The Problem of Sufferings
All people suffer , whether you are young, old, smart, rich, poor, strong, healthy, etc. Each and everyone experiences some form of pain or problem. There is no such thing as perfect life in this world. We all cry, and tears is the same for all people. White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Red. Regardless of religious affiliation, we all get hurt.
I. Definition – Suffering is defined as : Trouble; pain; persecution; sorrow; distress; injury; hurt; loss; misery; problems; afflictions.
II. The fact of suffering:
The Bible plainly says that trouble and suffering are part of life of every child of Adam
1. The Christian is subject to the normal afflictions connected with this sinful world, and is told that he will also suffer for his faith (Jn. 15:20; 16:33; Ac. 14:22; Ro. 8:18; 1 Th. 3:3-4; 2 Ti. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12).
2. Being a Christian is not a one way ticket to heaven with all the riches and happiness which the world has to offer now while you are living.
3. In fact it may be the opposite. The thing is with all the hardships, sufferings and pains you will have to endure, Jesus Christ is with you. This is the most important thing.
III. Types of Christian Sufferings
1. Financial want (1 Ti. 6:6-8). God does not promise financial prosperity to His people in this life. He has often required that His children be relatively poor. He promises to meet our needs (Ps. 37:25; He. 13:5), not necessarily our wants.
The widow’s meal barrel did not fail, but it is also true that she had to scrape the bottom every day (1 Ki. 17:12-16)! God uses our want to teach us many lessons and to keep us humble and dependent upon Him. He has often required that His children be relatively poor. He promises to meet our needs (Ps. 37:25; He. 13:5), not necessarily our wants.
2. Sickness (2 Co. 12:7-10; Ph. 2:25-27; 1 Ti. 5:23; 2 Ti. 4:20). Paul were given a “thorn in the flesh” (eye disease). Timothy has a stomach problem
3. Emotional sufferings (2 Cor. 1:8; 7:5-6; Ps. 119:25,28,82- 83,143).
4. Persecution (Mk. 10:30; Ac. 14:22; 2 Co. 11:23-27; 2 Ti. 3:12; 1 Pe. 4:1-4).
5. Loss of Reputation. 1 Corinthians 4:10 In Acts 26:24 Paul was accuse of being mad when he testified to Festus a Procurator of Judea in AD 60.
6. The elements. The Christian must endure pain and hardship along with the unsaved in the storms, famines, pestilences, wars, and other tragedies of life.
7. Lack of visible success. God’s people are not promised any certain standard of visible success in this life.
Many of God’s choicest saints labored throughout life with very little outward success. Noah preached for 120 years and won only his immediate family. Jeremiah saw almost no visible results from his preaching. The crowds turned away from the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 6). Adinoram Judson laboured in Burma for decades with little outward success. William Carey preached in India and win only one soul after 7 years.
IV. THE REASONS OF THE CHRISTIAN’S SUFFERING.
(1) Sin’s curse. This present world is under God’s curse because of sin, and the Christian participates in the normal afflictions of life (Ge. 3:17-19; Ro. 8:19-23).
(2) (2) Sowing and reaping. The Christian is subject to the law of sowing and reaping (Ro. 8:12,13; Ga. 6:7,8; 1 Ti. 6:9; Jam. 1:14). Many of our troubles are the fruit of our sin and foolishness (Pr. 19:3), our lack of wisdom (Pr. 19:3; 25:19; 26:17; 27:12), our slothfulness (Pr. 6:9-11; 15:19; 19:15; 20:4,13; 24:30-34).
(3) Testing faith; producing fruit. God uses suffering to test the Christian’s faith and to produce spiritual growth and reward (Jam. 1:3,4; 1 Pe. 1:6,7; 4:12,13). Is your faith genuine? Only fire can remove the impurity and leave the pure gold.
(4) To silence Satan – Remember Job?
a. Satan wanted to prove God is wrong about Job, that he served God only because God had blessed him
b. But Job’s patience under suffering silenced Satan!
(5) Suffering makes us more dependent upon God. – Too often we always think ourselves self sufficient, but when the doctors and other experts says “we have done our best and its completely out of our hands”, then suddenly we throw ourselves into the mighty hands of God.
(6) Chastening. God uses suffering to correct the Christian (Ps. 119:67,71,75; He. 12:5-11; 1 Co. 5:5; 11:28-32; Jam. 1:13-15; 1 Ti. 1:20).
(7) Humility and power. God uses suffering to humble the Christian and to manifest His power through the Christian’s life (2 Cor. 1:8-9; 4:7-12; 12:7-10).
(8) God’s sovereignty. God uses suffering to accomplish His sovereign purposes (Jn. 9:2,3; Ro. 8:28; 1 Pe. 4:19). It is well to remember that God is God, and He has a right to do what He pleases. It is crucial that we trust Him regardless of whether or not we understand His purposes with us. If we require that God reveal to us every purpose for His actions, He ceases to be the sovereign God of the Bible
V. THE LENGTH OF THE CHRISTIAN’S SUFFERING.
1. “awhile” (1 Pe. 5:10);
2. “a season” (1 Pe. 1:6);
3. “this present time” (Ro. 8:18). The Bible promises no time limit to suffering.
• God promises to be with us in our suffering, but not necessarily to remove the suffering. Psalm 88 is interesting in this context. From beginning to end the Psalmist complains of his troubles and nowhere is there a hint of relief. There are circumstances in life like this.
• The Christian is sometimes faced with lifelong trials of various sorts. He cries often to God for relief, but no relief is given. He must trust his loving God and by His grace endure.
VI. POSSIBLE RESPONSES TO SUFFERING.
(1) We may despise (hate) it, rebelling instead of submitting; this leads to hardness.
(2) We may faint under it (He. 12:12,13).
(3) We may accept and bear it, but not joyfully; this is the lowest form of victory.
(4) We may happily yield to the will of God; this is the highest form of victory.”