August 9, 2017
Why Do Christians Suffer?
For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. – 1 Timothy 1:16
Years ago, a family from our church went through an experience that would probably top most people’s list of biggest fears. While vacationing on the coast one summer, the only daughter of this family drowned at age sixteen. Recounting the experience, her mother said, “It was only God who sustained me through those hours. The lifeguards went out, and after a time, they brought the limp form of our daughter to the shore. As they worked over her there on the sand, my heart cried out to the Lord. I wanted her to live, and yet even in that moment, I felt that she was His child. . . . When I realized she was gone, memories came back to me, one after another. But in all our grief, the Lord put a wondrous peace down into our hearts. Not once did a thought of questioning God come to us—only thankfulness that she had been ready to go. We knew she was with the Lord, and there was unspeakable comfort in knowing that one day our family would be reunited.”
When we experience tragedy, God is faithful to comfort our hearts and let us know that He is still in control. It can sometimes be hard to comprehend why God allows pain and grief into our lives, but we know He has a purpose for everything. Our focus verse explains that Christians suffer to glorify God, and to be the means of God revealing His power and grace to sick and suffering humanity.
Because of sin, mankind has been subject to sickness, disease, misery, and death. Because of Christ, mankind is offered salvation, healing, comfort, and eternal life. But how can those without Him know this? They do not know Him or His Word. On every hand they see the evidence of sin and suffering, so they believe there is no Savior and no God. Then one day, perhaps on the job or in the classroom, but maybe in a hospital or even a prison, they meet a Christian. He, too, has met with problems, sickness, and misfortune. Yet, in that Christian, they see light in times of darkness, faith holding fast in all adversity, patience for every trying situation, and above all, love. Love of God, love of neighbor—even the enemy is an object of love and prayer. They realize there is hope in this world after all.
Why do Christians suffer? So that lost and dying mankind may see the Savior.