One of the godliest women I know has endured more suffering than anyone I know. Her first husband was a pastor who died of a sudden asthma attack. She was left to care for their three young children alone. Years later she remarried, but the man decided he was “done” being married and left her with no explanation. She is a nice, godly, kind, tenderhearted woman. It saddens me to think of all the hardship she’s endured.
I find myself asking: Why did she have to go through these things? Why are there evil people in the world who enjoy so many good things in life while my friend has had to endure pain, loss, and betrayal?
My guess is that you, too, have experienced suffering in your life. Thankfully, the Bible tells us how to get through suffering.
First, remember that to be Christian means we suffer. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “become a Christian and you will not suffer.” In fact, the Bible and its examples teaches the opposite. When some of the apostles were flogged and beaten because of their faith they were “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer” (Acts 5:41, NASB). Peter tells us we “share the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13, NASB). While in prison Paul said, “I rejoice in my sufferings” (Colossians 1:24, NASB). Church history also tells us that all of Jesus’ disciples were killed because of their faith except for the disciple John. To be Christian is to suffer.
Second, remember that God is still good, even when we suffer. In his book, Who Am I? Warren Wiersbe writes about suffering, “As His sheep, we may not always understand what the Shepherd is doing, but we know we can trust Him. Whether in the pastures, beside the pools, or on the paths, He is caring for us and meeting our every need” (page 28). When we have questions about why he allows us to suffer, we must study Scripture and what it says about God. “All he does is just and good” (Psalm 119:7, NLT) and “God is love” (1 John 4:8, NLT).
Third, remember that God gives us his word to help us in our suffering. “My troubles turned out for the best—they forced me to learn from God’s textbook” (Psalm 119:71, The Message). We know that troubles will come and we will suffer as Christians. Let’s hold those Bibles tight, remember that God is still good, and that suffering is part of our Christian life.
Christopher L. Scott is a pastor living in Exeter. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.