“If God loves us, cares for us, and wants the best for us, why does He allow all this suffering that goes on in the world? He could stop it if He wanted to. But somehow, He doesn’t seem to want to. What we don’t realize is that sometimes when nothing appears to be happening, God is patiently doing His awesome work.” A good definition of suffering is: “Anything that causes us
mental, physical, or emotional pain or irritates us in some fashion.” (See: 1 Peter 4:12-19.)
The following are some of the Reasons God allows suffering:
1. To get our attention. (See: Psalm 119:67, 71) Sometimes God wants to get our attention to look to Him and pay attention to that which is important to God.
2. To develop righteousness and maturity in us. God may be in the process of building maturity in us and by allowing certain events to happen to us, He knows we’ll “grow up” and become more mature in the process.
3. To prune us. (See: John 15:1-2.) “He removes attitudes and habits that are harmful to our fruitfulness.” The whole pruning process is used by God to cut back useless things in our life to maximize our potential as Believers. He sees attitudes in our lives that don’t belong there.
He prunes off what shouldn’t be there. God can’t stand stuff in our lives that cloud our vision of Him.
4. To teach us obedience. (See: Hebrews 12:5.) “Sometimes people suffer because of their own disobedience.” When we become disobedient we can expect some kind of suffering.
5. To teach us to trust Him. (See: 1 Peter 1:7.) “He tests our faith in order to strengthen it.” An example of this is in the principle of tithing.
6. To teach us to depend continually on His grace and goodness.2 Corinthians 12 tells us that when we are weak, we are strong. If we want God to use us, suffering is going to be a part of our life. God uses it to teach us so we will gain wisdom. “Suffering in life and being used by God are inseparable.”
7. To manifest Christ’s life and character in us. It’s to help us to be living examples of God’s character. And God’s character shines forth in us through times of sanding, sifting and pruning.
Whatever the form of suffering we encounter, there is a Divine purpose involved. “When someone meets us, they will meet the Son of God in us.”
8. To purify our hearts. A pure heart is a righteous heart—which is the will of God for us. Purity and God’s power go together. “There is no power in your ministry unless you are pure.” Keep in mind that all suffering is not a result of sin. God has a purpose in allowing suffering in our lives.
9. So we can share in the holiness of Christ. (See Hebrews 12:10.)
10. To teach us to give thanks in everything. (See: 1 Thessalonians 5:18.) “You don’t have to feel thankful to express gratitude that God is going to bring something good out of your experience.”
11. To develop character and perseverance. (See: Romans 5:1-5.)
12. To enable us to share in the sufferings of Christ. (Philippians 3:10.)
13. To prevent pride in our life. (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9.)
14. To broaden our ministry. (See: Philippians 1:12-13.) An example of this would be: “Going through an experience of suffering and loneliness that extended His influence.”
15. To reveal the evil nature of mankind and the righteous judgment of God. (See: 2 Thessalonians,Chapter 2.) In this chapter it says, “The wicked will be judged.”
So, how should we respond? You can pray the following: “Lord, what are You saying to me?” “Lord, whatever Your purpose is, I surrender to Your will.” “Give me the grace to bear this until You have accomplished Your will.”
We hope that as you read through the above list, that you found comfort in knowing that God can bring some type of good out of the suffering you’re going through. We also pray that you’ll take what you’re learning and will apply it for good use in your marriage so God may be glorified in every area of your life.