WHY DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER?
Atheists love to ask, "If there is a God and he is so
loving and good, then why does he allow suffering and so many horrible things
to happen? If he is so powerful, why
doesn't he just do something about it?"
Of course, the Bible says that the sins of the people bring curses upon
them and their family. Deuteronomy,
Chapters 27 and 28, among other scriptures; Ex. 34:6-7; 20:7. But Christians also ask the question:
"How come Christians go through trials and sufferings too?"
The Bible contains many scriptures that show us that God
perfects the saints through chastening, trials and tests. Heb. 12:5-12; Ja. 1:2-6; 1 Pet. 1:6-7,
are the afflictions of the righteous."
Ps. 34:19. The Lord Jesus came in
the flesh to show us the way to life through death. "And
he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me." Mt. 10:38; 16:24; Mk. 8:34; 10:21.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into
the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much
fruit. He that loveth his life shall
lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life
eternal." Jn. 12:24-25.
The flesh hates this message. It wants to live the good life on earth. It does not want to suffer and die. That is why we have mega churches today. The most popular teaching is the prosperity
message: "God wants to bless you
and give you everything you ever wanted in life." It is a lie from the pit of hell. We are called to lay up treasures in heaven
and not on earth. Mt. 6:19-20. "How
hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!"
"And He lifted up
His eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye
shall be filled. Blessed are ye that
weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed
are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their
company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of
man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and
leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in like manner
did their fathers unto the prophets.
But woe unto you that
are rich! for ye have received your
consolation. Woe unto you that are
full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well
of you! for so did their fathers to the
false prophets." Lk. 6:20-28.
God's greatest desire is to have sons and daughters in the
image of His Son, Jesus Christ. He
desires that we be perfect in Christ.
Ro. 8:29; Eph. 4:11-15. He also
wants a perfect church that will become the bride of Christ. Eph. 5:25-30; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2; 22:17. How is this all possible? All we know is that nothing is impossible to
God. Mt. 19:26. For you and me, it is impossible; but with
God nothing is impossible if we allow Him.
Jesus Christ came to show us the way. Jn. 14: 6. "For it became Him, for whom are all
things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make
the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are
sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them
brethren." Heb. 2:10-11.
These are hard sayings for most Christians because we live
in the flesh; but all that seek salvation and perfection are called to walk the
same road as the Lord. We are to die to
Self and deny our flesh. We will suffer
persecution and worse. Even as the Lord
Jesus was persecuted and hated by the world, so will every true Christian that
follows the Lord. Mt. 5:10-12; Lk. 21:12.
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated
you. The servant is not greater than his
lord. If they have persecuted Me, they
will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours
also. But all these things they will do
unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me." Jn. 15:18-21.
Jesus prophesied that His disciples would share His bitter
cup. Mt. 20:22-23. It was an honor and privilege far beyond
anything they could imagine. When it
came time to lay their lives down after a life of trials and sufferings, they
did so willingly and gladly, knowing the glory that would come later in
heaven. They are all, no doubt, sitting
around the throne of God at this very moment and will be in the wonderful
presence of Almighty God, He who loved us before we loved Him, forever and
The apostle Paul serves as our example. You can read about his trials and sufferings
in the Bible. 2 Co.
4:7-16; 6:4-10. "For our light affliction, which is but for a
moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are
seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are
temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Co.
4:17-18. Paul speaks of how we, though
in the flesh, do groan, being burdened:
not for that we would be unclothed (that we would die), but clothed upon, that
mortality might be swallowed up of life." 2 Co.
are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be
present with the Lord. Wherefore we
labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment
seat of Christ." 2 Co. 5:8-10.
All true saints of God are citizens of the Kingdom of God living in a foreign land. Our true home is not planet earth, but the Kingdom of Heaven. We all have a short time to live on
earth. That's why we are taught to lay
up treasures in heaven, and not earth.
When we get to heaven, we will enjoy what we have laid up. The apostle Paul knew that there was a crown
of righteousness laid up for him in heaven if he endured suffering and
persecution and completed his God-given task.
2 Ti. 4:8. There is always a
price to pay in order to attain that crown of righteousness in heaven. The "life abundant" is not life on
earth, but everlasting life in heaven with the Lord. There are different ranks in heaven and
higher levels of glory that God will share with those who endure while on
earth. Enduring and submitting to God's
will is not only for our sake, but for His sake as well. God's deep desire for sons and daughters in
the image of Jesus must come to pass.
We are never alone in our trials and sufferings. God is always at our side. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Heb. 13:5.
He will never take His love from you.
There is a great revival that must come before the end of
the world. Mt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rev.
14:6. But along with revival will come
great tribulation. "For then shall be great tribulation,
such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever
shall be." Mt. 24:21.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be
saved." Mt. 24:13. Many Christians will leave the faith and lose
their salvation. 2 Th. 2:3. But he that endures the many trials and
willingly suffer for His name sake, shall shine like the morning star. Rev. 2:28.
A true church will emerge and out of the true church will come the army
of God and the martyrs of God. Rev.
12:1-17; Joel 2:1-11; Rev. 14:1-5; 19:11-21.
It is time to draw close to God. Only God, through His Holy Spirit, can help
us through the perilous times ahead. Do
not fear. He will make all things
possible. He will keep His word.
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want . . . ." Ps. 23:1-6