Summary: comfort for people who experience pain and tragedy
Saints and Suffering
II Chronicles 31:20-21, 32:1
He was a man of justice. He stood for right and proclaimed the truth to his people. He restored the true of worship of God. He saw to it that the nation obeyed the laws of God’s Word. He did all these things with his whole heart. Of all the leaders of the earth through entire world history, Hezekiah was one of the most righteous. Hezekiah pleased God and God blessed his reign. After all that Hezekiah had done to turn the nation of Israel back to God, suddenly tragedy struck.
A horde of soldiers under the evil King Sennacherib flooded the land. -- Why did God allow this to happen? Look at all the good Hezekiah had done. He didn’t deserve this! He was all out for the Lord. Why had this plague of enemy soldiers swept over his land?
The NIV translates this first verse of chapter 32 this way, “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah.” Why? Why after Hezekiah had been so faithful to God did he now see this terrible invasion coming his way. Hezekiah’s quandary brings us to the question, “Why do the righteous suffer?”
On February 15, 1947 Glenn Chambers boarded a plane bound for Quito, Ecuador to begin his ministry in missionary broadcasting. But he never arrived. In a horrible moment, the plane carrying Chambers crashed into a mountain peak and spiraled downward. Later it was learned that before leaving the Miami airport, Chambers wanted to write his mother a letter. All he could find for stationery was a page of advertising on which was written the single word "WHY?" Around that word he hastily scribbled a final note. After Chambers’ mother learned of her son’s death, his letter arrived. She opened the envelope, took out the paper, and unfolded it. As she opened this last letter from her son which was a final voice from the dead, staring her in the face was this word, "WHY?"
We are all confronted with the question, “Why?” Why do good people suffer? Why does a good God allow pain, difficulty, hardship, tribulation, sorrow, depression, misfortune, disease, and even death to come our way?
From the example of King Hezekiah we begin to understand the answer to that question. Why does God allow saints to suffer? First, that we might bond together in unity.
Read verses 2-4 with me.
In the midst of an extremely difficult situation, the people of Jerusalem unified together in order to stop up the waters of the fountains outside the city. They were determined to leave no water available for the enemy.
I believe that there is an important lesson here. God uses times of great suffering and difficulty to bring his people together. God wants to unify us so that the enemy has no opportunity to destroy us spiritually, so He uses times of suffering to draw us together.
In 2002, Pastor Brian Line and his family were on the way home from a vacation to visit family in Kansas. Sister Rhoda Line, his wife, was driving. She fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle drifted across the interstate to the median where it began to roll. It rolled again and again. When the SUV came to a stop. Pastor Brian Line, miraculously unhurt, climbed out of the vehicle and found his sons quietly sitting by the side of the road. His daughters were crying in the vehicle but they were not hurt. Pastor Brian Line discovered his wife unconscious. She had suffered a severe head injury. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital. She was near death.
When Pastor Brian Line’s church heard of the accident, they gathered for prayer. They unified in voice that God would heal their pastor’s wife. God, in His mercy, did spare her. Except for a hearing problem she is well today.
Something miraculous took place during the time of that accident. The people of the church were brought together like never before. Wayne Asbury, who attended the church during that time, later said, “What really brought us together as a church was that accident.” God can use incredible suffering to bring His people together. The Devil meant it for evil but God used it for good.
Second, suffering comes the way of the saints, so that they might repair the essentials of life which they have ignored. Let’s read verse 5. “Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without and repaired Millo in the city of David and made darts and shields in abundance.”
The wall, which had been broken down by previous battles, was now repaired. God uses tribulations that we might repair that which is broken.