119:67, 71). 6:10f; Ex. It may be a personal failure or disappointment in your job or school work. This negative aspect is accomplished in two ways: (1) When out of fellowship with the Lord: Suffering becomes discipline from our heavenly Father (Heb. . “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son He receives” (Heb. It may be a rumor that is circulating in your office or your church, damaging your reputation, bringing you grief and anxiety.”1 It can be anything that ranges from something as small and irritating as the bite of a mosquito to facing a lion in the lions’ den as did Daniel (Dan. It is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives in a way that would never occur without the trial or irritation. So, it is understandable that the Christian heart would cry out in suffering, “Why?” since we don’t know most of the micro reasons for our suffering — why now, why this way, why this long? Suffering in itself does not remove the impurities, but is a tool God uses to cause us to exercise faith in the provisions of God’s grace. 16:7; 119:67, 71). As a process, it takes time. Compare 1 Peter 1:6-7 where the same Greek words are used along with the verb dokimazo which means, “put to the test,” “prove by testing as with gold.”. Christians still suffer as we wait for Jesus to return, but none of our suffering is random or without purpose. 12:5f; 1 Pet. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. 1:6-7). 6). This includes the following areas: a. ), (2) Determine Objectives (What is God wanting to do in my life or in others? The Bible even tells us why we suffer. It refers to a test designed to prove or approve. The point is, obedience often costs us something and is hard. 4:9-10; 3:18). In this sense, suffering is designed: a. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. SUFFERING What is christian suffering? God has promised us many things, but He has not promised us immunity from suffering in this life. First Peter 2:21 says, “To this [suffering] you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (NIV). Christianity acknowledges the reality of suffering and attributes it to the sinful nature of humanity. Suffering is somewhat mysterious. In August of 2001 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and on August 29th, 2002 he went home to be with the Lord. (2) We suffer to develop our capacity and sympathy in comforting others (2 Cor. The purpose was to … Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. Table of Contents [ Show] 1. Regardless of what we know and how hard we apply the principles, it is going to hurt (cf. Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. (9) Suffering is Predetermined or Appointed. In the design of God, it is also something to make us think. (7) Suffering Provides Opportunity. Reliance: Suffering is a call to trust God and not the life-sustaining props of this world. We must understand God’s chief purpose for our lives is to be conformed to the image of Christ and He has determined in His plan to use suffering for our spiritual development. It causes us to put first things first. We seldom know the micro reasons for our sufferings, but the Bible does give us faith-sustaining macro reasons. In his article “A Christian Response to Suffering”, William Marravee (1987) describes suffering as an “experience over which we men and women continue to stumble and fall”.The way we view God is crucial to the way we view suffering according to Marravee, who delineates the disparity between a view of God as an ‘outsider’ and the biblical image of God – where God is an ‘insider’ who suffers with us in our … Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. ...The Purpose of Suffering: A Christian Perspective The concept of suffering plays an important role in Christianity, regarding such matters as moral conduct, spiritual advancement and ultimate destiny. It is also not a means of gaining points with God, nor of subduing th… 3:12). Christian beliefs about the origins of suffering in the world and how to respond to this problem vary. 1 Pet. The question we must each face is not, ‘if’ we are going to have trials in life, but how will we respond to them? Suffering is not in itself virtuous, nor is it a sign of holiness. 4:12-13; 1 Pet. Suffering is designed to cause us to walk by God’s ability, power, and provision rather than by our own (2 Cor. Suffering in this world is a stone-cold reality in Christianity -- Jesus Christ Himself, God Incarnate, suffered betrayal, indignity, torture and a grueling death. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. What is God doing? 1:6—“distressed” = lupeo, “to cause pain, sorrow, grief”). Suffering is hard; it is never easy. Renike quotes author Rankin Wilbourne who … d. As a means of learning what obedience really means. Why now? Negative: Suffering helps to remove impurities from our lives such as indifference, self-trust, false motives, self-centeredness, wrong values and priorities, and human defense and escape mechanisms by which we seek to handle our problems (man-made solutions). (3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. Instead Lewis’s conviction that suffering can lead to humility is tied to grasping that Christians worship Jesus Christ, and as the 19th century writer George MacDonald (whom Lewis quotes in The Problem of Pain) commented, “The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” Our suffering as we follow Him has purpose, and it will come to an end. This requires faith in the eternal verities of God. A Need for Brokenness. 2 Corinthians 1:8–9: We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 2 (Gal. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. To manifest the power of God to others (2 Cor. Suffering provides key opportunities to manifest and magnify the power of God through His servants in order to verify and confirm the messenger and his message. It is true, however, that rarely does suffering not reveal areas of need, areas of weakness, and wrong attitudes that need to be removed like dross in the gold-refining process (cf. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:6-7). In fact, our suffering is a sign of God's love. This is why Jesus suffered on earth in every way that we do. It is designed to build our trust in the Almighty, but suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. In the process of producing Christian character and enhancing our testimony to others, suffering often opens up doors for ministry we could never have imagined. This has both a negative and a positive aspect: a. The Analysis is based on 2 Corinthians 1, 3-4 and Acts 14, 22. 5:5-11; 1 Cor. Righteousness: Suffering is the discipline of our loving heavenly Father so that we come to share his righteousness and holiness. To Share in the Purpose of Suffering Jesus' suffering was not in vain. 8:28-29). My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. In this case, suffering often constitutes mirrors of reproof (John 15:1-7). 67b, 97-102). Suffering at the hands of people (persecution, violent treatments) is used of God to “fill up the measure of their sins.” It shows the evil character of those who persecute others and the justice of God’s judgment when it falls. c. As a tool for growth designed to cause us to rely on the Lord and His Word. Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. . 12:6). Suffering is that which proves one’s character and integrity along with both the object and quality of one’s faith. The concept of suffering plays an important role in Christianity, regarding such matters as moral conduct, spiritual advancement and ultimate destiny. 4:4-7), 3. It’s going to be a battle all the way. Luke 13:4–5: 4:16). The purpose of suffering as a Christian PLEASE NOTE: This article is not really about suffering in general and it probably wouldn’t be helpful to someone facing sickness, bereavement, breakdown of relationship or the other kinds of pain which can afflict us in life. It forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources. Christianity believes in a benevolent God who created the universe and all things in it. 6:7-9). Why me? (Romans 8:28). was a 1966 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a former pastor of 28 years. b. We reap what we sow (Gal. The Purpose of Suffering: A Christian Perspective The concept of suffering plays an important role in Christianity, regarding such matters as moral conduct, spiritual advancement and ultimate destiny. 7:14). 3:13-17). They allow the process to work and allow us to experience inner peace and joy in the midst of the trials. 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