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Of all the challenges thrown at Christianity in modern times, perhaps the most difficult is explaining the problem of suffering. How can a loving God allow suffering to continue in the world which ...
Matthew 16:21 ¶ From that time began Jesus to shew to his disciples that it is necessary for him to go away to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and to be put to death, and the third day to rise. We need to understand suffering by what our lord and savior went through up to and including his being nail to a tree! What he went through for us should constantly be on our minds and hearts, especially when we sin or commit a trespass against our neighbor or our God and Father. Paul says plainly that all who live our the lord Jesus in their lives will be persecuted, suffer! This is what we aught to be doing: Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with the anointed one - Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. What a glorious future awaits all of us who are willing to suffer for our lord Jesus in carrying our what he has given us to do. To seek first the Kingdom of God and proclaim it to this sin sick world. Phillipians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 2 Thess:1:5: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. Indeed if we suffer for being a follower of the lord Jesus it is only for a short season and the end result for all those who hold fast to the end will be to glorious rule with him in the coming new age! What a glorious hope and future awaits all those who remain faithful in the anointed one Jesus.
When God created this world He said that it was very good (Gen 1:31). There was no death or suffering to humans and animal kinds: that all came from Adam's disobedience (Romans 5). So the source of suffering dates back to the beginning of time, namely and Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Despite this pain and suffering, God through His Son Jesus Christ has reconciled us to Himself, so after death we will spend an eternity with a loving God in a place with no death or suffering. All we have to do is repent of our sins and trust and believe in Christ's sacrifice to take away our sins. Despite our suffering on this planet Christ can make everything work for good with Him in our lives (Rom 8:28). All we have to do is totally trust in Jesus regardless of the circumstances.
The story of Job really answers some of our questions about suffering. For example, when God boasted about Job, satan began to complain. His complaint was that God had built an hedge of protection around Job so satan couldn't touch Job. Who build this hedge? God did just like the way He put Adam in the Garden of Eden. Later on in the story Job cried out and said that what he had FEARED had came upon him. He was no longer operating in faith and fear is tool of satan. Job tore down the hedge built by God. So we can say that he brought the trouble upon himself. Just like Adam did in the Garden. While the beginning of the story is important so is the end. God bless Job with double measure. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Acts 14.22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." God demands it to be quite honest. The word tribulations means: a pressing, pressing together, pressure metaph. Oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits Only through being crushed, pressed, distressed, afflicted, oppressed will a believe enter heaven. Why? Because it means you are submitted, saved and broken. It means your life is not your own. It means you have left your life at the cross, for His disposal and you are serving Him with abandon. The sign, hanging on the chuck wagon says, 'California or Bust'. Ours says, Heaven for His Glory. The trials and affliction draw us closer to Him. They force us to our knees in obedience and dependence. They bring out Christ in us. Like drawing a pearl from a slimy oyster or a diamond from the furnace of the earth, God uses tribulations and suffering in order to bring out those qualities that bring Him glory. The rich and prosperous of the world and the church, for that matter, have all but forgotten God. Only when their world crashes down around them and knocks them flat on their backs, do they look up. Suffering is the only way to keep a person humble, dependent and looking constantly to Him for their day to day strength.
God doesn't want us to suffer, but he doesn't often interfere with the consequences of our choices which often cause us to suffer. Another source of suffering is that we live in a fallen world. Some suffering occurs simply because the world is broken and can't be repaired until God returns. Things like disease, death, aging usually occur through no specific sin of the person dealing with these things, but because of this brokenness. Finally, God may be the author of our suffering if it will bring us closer to him or back to him if we have strayed.
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