Why is it that some people never seem to catch a break while others sail through life seemingly unscathed by life's tragedies? The question, or a version of it, is as old as time, and so is the simple answer - People sin and God is sovereign and uses everything to work His plan. Got it? :) If "getting it" was that easy, I wouldn't be blogging. So...here go my thoughts.
I came to the story of Jesus giving the blind man sight today in my daily reading. Why I thought of suffering when I read the passage was the fact that the blind man was blind from birth. (John 9:2) I don't know about you, but if I was born with a defect such as blindness, I might be asking God "Why me?". So, why does God give us each our own "crosses" to bear? Does this make Him unloving? Those of us who know Him well understand that God is a very loving God. However, reasoning through the issue of suffering is difficult when ourselves or a loved one is going through a difficult time. Following are my thoughts on God's purposes for our suffering.
1) Sometimes we suffer for the good of other people. I know. That doesn't seem right now, does it? In the story of the blind man receiving his sight, Jesus explicitly declared that the man was born blind not because of his parents' sin, but so "the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:3) Through this man and the miracle of his sight, many believed that Jesus was the Messiah. APPLICATION: Has there been a time in your life where you have been able to comfort others because you can understand their pain from personal experience? If so, you have been used by God. (2 Cor 1:4)
2) Sometimes we suffer because God is trying to teach us something. We are clay in the hands of the Master Potter and face it, being molded into who He wants us to be hurts sometimes.
Isaiah 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with His maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Our trials build our faith. (Romans 5:3-5). APPLICATION: Think of a recent trial you have worked through or are working through. Thank God for who He will make you become.
3) Sometimes we are suffering because we are being pursued by God to accept His salvation. If things were perfect in our lives, would we need God? (Rev 4:17) Remember, that God seeks people to worship Him (John 4:23). He wants all of us to be with Him in eternity (2 Pe 3:9) and want all of us to be fruitful on this earth (John 15:16). APPLICATION: Where do you stand with God? If you are one of His "children" are you living for Him or do you just have "fire insurance"?
My prayer is that any of my readers out there that are suffering will not hesitate one second to go to God with their pain. I pray that He will reveal Himself to each of you as Comforter as well as Teacher and Friend. Amen.