Have you ever heard the expression that we must thank God for the bad things in our lives?
Ha! Does anyone else think that’s just plain wierd?
And yet, maybe there is a grain of truth in there somewhere. Because it’s the bad things in life that teach us how to be better people. So why not thank God for those experiences, no matter how painful they may be?
Suffering for Christians is inevitable. If you love God and have made the commitment to serve Him, be prepared for some hard things to come your way. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). It’s coming. The question is, how will it come at you?
Many people wonder why God allows bad things to happen. Here are some reasons I’ve collected during my seasons of suffering.
Why we experience suffering:
1) Sometimes it’s due to sin we haven’t dealt with. All sin has consequences, and unconfessed, hidden sin festers inside our hearts, holding us back from the abundant life God promises when we abide in Him. We need to ask God to forgive us and confess what we’ve done to others.
2) God wants to use our faith to save souls and encourage believers. This is the story of Paul, and all the hardship he endured while trying to spread the gospel. People are watching us, even when we don’t realize it. Are we complaining and whining, or are we determined to press on?
3) God wants to draw us closer to Him and build character in us. Sanctification is a process. When we chose to believe in Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we were made righteous in that moment. But our sinful ways didn’t just disappear. There is a journey we must all take to cast off our old self and become more like Jesus.
4) We are determined to have our own way, and He must break our will. Much like taming a wild horse, we are not easily persuaded to follow God’s plan. Pride and selfishness come naturally. Once we are broken, we will trust and obey without question. In our humanness, most of us are not motivated to change our old ways and give up selfish attitudes without a little pressure.
It’s hard to accept sometimes, but God knows what he’s doing. I want to have faith like Job, who said “When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”