Summary: Our heavenly Father knows what is best even when He allows us to go through dark valleys of suffering.
Suffering - To experience adverse effects of something unpleasant. To feel pain, grief or discomfort.
Illustration:Someone asked C.S. Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?" "Why not?" he replied. "They’re the only ones who can take it."
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller quoted in: Barbara Rowes, The book of Quotes, Dutton.
Reasons Why God Allows Suffering -
1. The testing of our faith produces mature-well rounded godly character qualities. (James 1 :2,3)
2. Suffering is a privilege of identifying with Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1 :29)
Illustration:If we consider the greatness and the glory of the life we shall have when we have risen from the dead, it would not be difficult at all for us to bear the concerns of this world. If I believe the Word, I shall on the Last Day, after the sentence has been pronounced, not only gladly have suffered ordinary temptations, insults, and imprisonment, but I shall also say: "O, that I did not throw myself under the feet of all the godless for the sake of the great glory which I now see revealed and which has come to me through the merit of Christ!"
3. Suffering is proof that we are true children of God. (Heb. 12:8)
4. Suffering helps identify and eradicate impurities in the life of a believer. (Heb. 12:9,10)
5. Suffering helps us become more fruitful (Qualitatively and quantitatively) and wise. (Heb. 12: 11)
6. It is the proven path to Godliness. (2 Tim. 3: 12)It was the wise choice made by Moses to endure the affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin in the courts of Pharaoh. (Heb. 11 :25)
Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.
Oswald Chambers in Christian Discipline.
7. Suffering can come through our efforts to discipline ourselves for the purpose of Godliness. (I Tim. 4:7,8)
8. Suffering helps us to intimately know more of the Lord’s attributes through a closer identification with His sufferings. (Phil. 3: 10)
9. Godly chastisement is profitable to make us better not bitter. (Heb. 12:10) We are commanded to endure suffering and deny ourselves as Jesus did. (Lk. 9:23,24)
10. Suffering has a way of sharpening us to make us more effective in our ministries. (Eccl. 10: 10)
11. Suffering allows us to teach others through our example how God can work all things together for good. (Rom. 8:28,29)
12. Godly sufferings produce godly blessings. (I Pet. 4: 13,14)
13. Some suffering comes as a result of our sins, mistakes or wrong assumptions. (I Pet. 2: 19-21)
14. We are able to learn to respond to suffering as Christ did - without vengeance or retaliations (I Pet. 2:23,24)
15. Our sufferings produce for us an everlasting weight of glory that surpasses all comparisons and calculation, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease. (2 Cor. 4: 17)
Illustration:At the Nicene Council, an important church meeting in the 4th century A.D., of the 318 delegates attending, fewer than 12 had not lost an eye or lost a hand or did not limp on a leg lamed by torture for their Christian faith.
In What Forms Does Suffering Come? -
1. The Lord may providentially allow suffering to come into your life for reasons of adding fertilizer for your spiritual growth thereby enabling you to bear greater fruit. (Heb. 12: 8- 12)
2. Suffering may come as a result of our own mistakes, immaturity or lack of spiritual wisdom. (Gal. 6:7)
3. Suffering may come through physical ailments that cause us to trust the Lord for our healing. (James 5: 16)
4. Suffering may come so that God’s greater purposes could be accomplished through our lives. (John 9: 1-4)
5. Suffering may come through the persecution of the ungodly or carnal believers. (I Cor. 10: 13)
6. Suffering may come through emotional disturbances that have not been given over to the Lord’s control. (Phil. 4:6-8)
7. Suffering may come through a social disturbance that may teach us how to improve in our Christ like love for others. (I Cor. 13:4-7)
8. Suffering may come through our attempts to accomplish all of God’s will. (2 Tim. 3: 12)
9. Suffering may come through economic hardships that bring everyone to a greater sense of dependence on the Lord for our provisions. (Matt. 6: 11)
10. Suffering may come as a result of a sin of omission that we are somehow overlooking in our responsibilities. (Matt. 7:7)