Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why Do We Suffer?

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." -1 Peter 5:8-10

Why do we suffer? It is a valid question. It is a question that has been asked for millennia by those who claim to follow the true God and by those who claim not to be religious at all. It is a question that can be answered simply, and it is a question that can be answered in a complex way. It is a question for the believer in Jesus Christ and it is a question for the atheist. Why do we suffer?

Why do we suffer? It has to be acknowledged, first and foremost, that suffering is caused by sin. Suffering is universal because sin is universal. The Bible states clearly, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." The first sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden welcomed suffering into the world. Remember, God promised that the day that Adam and Eve at of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die. They disobeyed God and they suffered the consequences for their sin and the rest of humanity was cast into a state of suffering as a result. Since that time, the sinful nature of mankind has continued to cause suffering universally.

Why do we suffer? The believer in Jesus asks this question from a unique perspective. Unlike the atheist or the agnostic, who asks the question and searches endlessly for a satisfactory answer, the Christian can ask the question "why?" and see the answer on the pages of the Scriptures. In the above verses from the apostle Peter's first letter, we read part of the answer to the question. The devil is...seeking whom he may devour. It is important to realize the the devil is a master of destruction. He wants to destroy what God has created. The devil wants to destroy nations, cities, families, marriages, humanity itself. The devil would destroy God if he could. He is rightly called "a murderer". So be on your guard Christian. Watch out, resist, stand strong, be faithful. You are not alone. Peter says that you are part of a brotherhood that is also experiencing the same sorts of suffering at the hand of the wicked one.

Why do we suffer? Part of answering this question is understanding that if you have trusted in Christ, you are headed for heaven. God has called you to His eternal glory, and He will bring you there. Notice verse 10. Peter says that God will perfect you. That means He will give you what you need to make it all the way to heaven. God will establish you. That means He will give you right directions. God will strengthen you. That means He will give you courage. God will settle you. That means He will ensure you experience final victory over the suffering in the world.

Why do we suffer? It is a necessary part of living in a fallen world. God will use suffering to accomplish his ultimate purpose in bringing the believer to heaven to enjoy God's eternal glory forever. The God of all grace will see that what He calls you to, He equips you for. Yes, you will suffer. But your suffering is not pointless. It is working for you a far more eternal weight of glory in Christ Jesus.

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