Why Christians Suffer

This list is from a study book developed by Hal Lindsey's "LifesHandBook", and is a quick reference with abbreviated notes and some additional thoughts.   It is always interesting to hear those who oppose the thought of a Loving God, who ask the question on why there is suffering when the better thought is to realize how much Holy Spirit intervenes in the affairs of mankind to accomplish God's purposes.

Before reading through the list, we all have seen situations that make us wonder and question on how can a loving God let so many evils happen in this world.   This is actually not a complicated answer.   When answering this question to an unbeliever, you need to never act superior or arrogant to anyone.  Additionally consider the situation in which the person is asking the question.  If you can tell it is to mock Christianity and yourself, then it is better to give a soft answer which does not put Christ up to be ridiculed.  God commends us in the scriptures to be wise and prudent without being quick to answer.  A possible answer to someone you know wants to ridicule your belief is "that is such a deep subject and I'll have to think about it first", which will give them the victory they wanted and you may gain some respect for listening to them.  The real reason is given in Ephesians 2 where the question and scriptural answer could be summarized like this with a view of the whole Bible in mind:

How could a loving God who knows the end from the beginning, who sees the fall of man which would lead to so much pain, suffering and death, let it all happen when the only solution to man's predicament is the very death of God?  The answer is how can a God who is all powerful, all knowing prove Himself to be eternally loving and show eternal grace beyond measurement?  It is for God to take our place in the consequences of sin and for ages to come through grace show His eternal love to anyone who accepts His substitution payment so that they can be in eternity with Him.  A beautiful acronym of Hal Lindsey's for Grace is "God's Riches at Christ's Expense".  We will spend eternity loving God for so many reasons that includes being eternally grateful for the price paid so that we could be with Him.   Additional reference scripture (Hebrews 2:9). 

A good list on why Christians suffer:

1 To Glorify God Consider many of the examples of great men and women in the Bible like Daniel who faced the Lion's den rather than send prayers to Darius the Mede.  God received the Glory by Daniel's actions and also Daniel was rescued. 

When taking the whole Gospel in mind, it is clear that no action by Satanic Forces and the evils of mankind will have any glory even to the point of death for the Christian in eternity.  We all must remember that we are rewarded for what we do for Christ.  Another way to think of this is satanic evil actions will have the opposite affect because they result in eternal rewards that the victim would not have received. 

James 1 2:4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 6:1-6
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. ...

There is so many more references!

2 As Discipline for Known Sin A loving parent will discipline their children for many reasons such as penalty for doing wrong, to stop the child from doing it again and also to protect the child from the dangers that can result from continuation. 
3 To Prevent Us from Falling into Sin There are many temptations that begin with a simple thought in our minds that one time only won't hurt.  One of the most commonly seen problems, in our world today, is the case of those who get quick fame or fortune and use it to participate in sinful activities.  Jesus gave us "The parable of the Prodigal Son" where there is many great lessons to be taken from this Parable and can easily be applied to today's problems of using fame and fortune for the wrong pursuits.  

In all of our lives we can look back and most likely see times when God kept us busy working extra hours at a job, studying extra hours for a test after being ill, never getting the big break on our job.  Years go by and hindsight is 20/20 as the expression goes where we have the chance to see pitfalls that were avoided by God's intervention.

4 To Keep Us from Pride Pride caused Satan to fall (Isaiah 14:13-14).  Pride caused King Saul to fall (1 Samuel 15:19->)  These and other examples in the scriptures are very straightforward showing us how pride can cause us to sin.   There are many men and women who have Spiritual and Physical Gifts that are used to the Glory of God as they rise to be Captains of Industry or Athletic Stars.  God will promote us in the proper season.
5 To Build Faith 1 Peter 1:6-7 "6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ"

It has been said that God asks us on a daily basis "Do you trust Me?"  The answer should be 'Yes'.   Romans 8:37 reads "No, in ALL these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us".  If we suffer even unto death then we are victors. 
6 To Grow In our earthly lives as we go through a scholastic program or a training program that requires hard work, we have to push ourselves to study or exercise so that we achieve the goals set.  In our Spiritual Walk, the same aspects apply that yield great blessings in this life and rewards in eternity.  When we go through a period of suffering that was not caused by sin, we grow in Faith through the perseverance (Romans 5:3-5).

Sub note: There is an old cliché "Satan burns all of his heroes" which means that those who enjoy the pleasures of sinful activity can potentially suffer for it in this life and eternity without God's intervention.  Obviously be aware that Satanic Forces are always ready to provide a shortcut to bypass what good things in this life and rewards eternity that God has planned and prepared.

7 To Teach Obedience and Discipline We do not see the big picture in life and will not necessarily know the reasons why we had to wait or never achieve goals that we set for ourselves.  What is paramount in remembering is God "He has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus."  Philippians 1:6  
8 To Equip Us to Comfort Others This almost doesn't need any explanation.  Going through tough experiences will absolutely give us experience and knowledge to impart onto others in helping them through their experience.  Some examples: (a) you lost a child to disease or an accident then God will bring families into your life that have experienced or in the trauma right at that moment, (b) you went through a bankruptcy, divorce, life threatening disease or loss of a job.
9 To Prove the Reality of Christ in Us Every man and woman of God in the Bible is tested.  Testing reaffirms our resolution to trust God.  2 Corinthians 4:7-11
10 As Testimony to the Angels The Angels are not all knowing like God and they do not know the plans of God in our lives which reveal His love for all of His Creation.  The Angels want to know more and learn about the plans of God, which are revealed in guidance in our lives.  1 Peter 1:12 describes "Angels desire to look into" in matters of the Holy Ghost.  Also, the Angels rejoice over sinners who repent as read in Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.".

Another great example is from J Vernon McGee.

God made it very clear. “In the world you are going to have tribulation — trouble — but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (see John 16:33). It’s hard to be of good cheer when you’re having trouble, isn’t it?  But that’s what He said. 

Personal Notes from the Author of this webpage:

The writer of this webpage has been through some very traumatic experiences which include a business stolen leading to two lawsuits that were won without the financial restitution after 6 years; a spouse becoming an alcoholic who then did all the mistakes that pretty much all alcoholics do including adultery that lead to divorce.  These are in the past and God has created victories from both of these events where I actually was restored from the loss in beautiful ways.  Does anybody want to experience horrible experiences in life?  Of course not.  There are also events in my life that I have made bad choices that resulted in corrections by God.  The prayer for us all is "Let not the lessons learned be wasted."  It is sometimes easy to fall into self pity when something negative happens that was not resulting from something wrong we did. 

Part of what we all should know when in the midst of horrible events, is "we are about to be blessed" because we have been attacked by Satanic Forces where God per the list of 10 things above is going to use it in the Christian's life so that the Satanic Forces ultimately get no victory from it in the Christian's life.  This is very complicated to explain in brief but I think there is enough discernment seen in the Scriptures:

Obviously, it is our part in this life to accept, move forward and lift ourselves up when experiencing suffering.  Yes on some events can lead to possibly death in our lives but think of so many scriptures pointing to the fact we are working for approval from God because of the great love of the FREE gift (not earned) to be with Him by accepting Jesus Christ's payment and therefore from that point on is working for rewards in Eternity as discussed in the Book of Hebrews.

Sadly this has to be said because there is those in the Christian Community who say "You do not have enough Faith and that is why you are having problems."  Since being a baby Christian, I have heard the expression "Christians are the only army in the world, who kill their wounded.", which seems to be true in way to many circumstances.  If Moses spent for 40 years in the desert, Joseph spent years in a prison in Egypt and John the Baptist lived off of Locusts / honey did they have a lack of Faith that could have freed them or got them in better circumstances?  That is a rhetorical question where there are of course many other examples in the scriptures of men and women of Faith that went through periods of troubles but God was using all of it for His Glory and our own also.

If you stumbled across this webpage and going through a bad place in your marriage, I highly suggest James Dobson's book "Love Must Be Tough", which is awesome also for those who are also divorced.  It has principles that can be used in many other aspects of life.

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