Weekly Sabbath Survey
Suffering — 6-1-13
The topic of suffering is a really tough thing to address. People are sensitive about it in their own lives; some are judgmental about it in the lives of others. We live in a fallen world with its various opportunities to acquire suffering of many different kinds. I believe in creative suffering. If it has to be, I try to make it somehow useful to myself or others. Try to learn something in the midst of it. I believe this guest author is on to something about suffering. Read it carefully. ~charlene
by Kathy Pelton:
I recently read a quote from Joni Eareckson Tada on suffering: “Why doesn’t God just eradicate suffering all together? If he were to eradicate suffering, He’d have to eradicate sin in which suffering has its roots. And if He were to eradicate sin, He’d have to eradicate sinners.” I had never really thought of it that way before, but that makes a lot of sense. Suffering was not a part of our world until sin entered it through Adam and Eve. Because suffering is a result of sin, it will always be a part of our world.
So if suffering is a part of our world, what does God want us to do with it? I believe that God wants us to use our suffering to help others. When we suffer, God comforts us:
Praise be to the …God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:2-3
Notice that He comforts us, not to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. Each of us can minister to others in a unique way because of the trials and struggles and suffering we have been through.
Finally, I believe that God wants to use our suffering to glorify Him. I’m reminded of the story of the man born blind:
[Jesus] saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life.’ John 9:1-3
The purpose of mankind on earth is to glorify God. Period. God can use circumstances that to us seem painful and maybe even unnecessary to glorify Himself. We may not see the glorification in our very limited perspective, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Another way suffering helps is to focus our minds on what is to come. Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning. One morning, Jesus will split the eastern sky before the sun does, and we will know as we have been known all this time. ~ charlene
Charlene Reams Manning Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah