Why do Christians encounter suffering? This is one of the questions you will get head-on with it when you share the gospel with some people. Why do Christians suffer? There are many reasons that Christians suffer but in this article, we are going to look at five reasons Christians suffer.
- Natural calamities
- Consequences of our own decisions.
- Actions of the other people.
- For Righteousness sake
1. Natural calamities
We do not live in a perfect world. This world is full of diseases, famine, death, poverty, and pandemics. When these come, they affect all people, both believers, and unbelievers.
A recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria has left over 4000 people dead, many others are displaced, without food and shelter. The loss is great and it is very painful. No one is exempt from this kind of suffering. It affects everyone.
Who allows natural calamities to happen?
God does that. Not the devil. Everything that happens in this world is allowed by God. God says that he creates darkness and evil. Everything that happens in this world happens because God has sent it.
Why then does God who is good send diseases, floods, and earthquakes that kill so many people? Well, it is difficult to tell. But God is still good, because his goodness is not defined by us. One thing I know is, what God ordains is best.
2. Consequences of our own actions
Truth be told, many times people complain and raise questions as to why they are suffering because of their own sinful choices. The Bible teaches us that what a man sows he shall reap. Now when a man sows bad habit, he will reap the fruit of it.
The problem people have is that they don’t want to reap the consequences of their actions. If someone did not study well, surely they will fail or do poorly in a test. If people take things that are not theirs, then they will end up in court. It is sad that sometimes people can escape the consequences of their actions.
It is amazing how people wonder why there are so bad things in the world but many of those things happen because they do things God says they should not do.
Our actions will have consequences and we must learn. Even when forgiven by our gracious God, the consequences will remain, though he will use it for our good.
3. Consequences of our own actions
We also suffer because of the actions of other people. Our actions affect other people and therefore our sinful actions can make other people suffer. For example, a child may have health complications because of the actions of the mother or father.
It is not good to suffer because of other people’s actions. Sadly, it may not be possible to prevent the actions of other people, but we can control our own actions do not affect other people negatively.
4. Actions of Satan
Devil sometimes can be a cause of our suffering. I do not mean that the devil has any power to afflict pain in us against God’s will. But the devil, granted permission by God has the power to make us suffer.
A good example of this is Job’s case. Satan got permission to afflict Job. In one day, Job lost everything he had including his children. Even his wife advised him to curse God and die. His friends who had come to comfort him were accusing him.
5. Suffering for righteousness’ sake
This is a kind of suffering in which only believers engage in. It involves suffering because of doing something which is good. Because of sin in the world, the world is opposed to God and his people.
For it is better that you suffer [unjustly] for doing what is right, if that should be God’s will, than [to suffer justly] for doing wrong.1 Peter 3:17
Believers will suffer for righteousness’ sake. This kind of persecution is a must for all Christians.
6. Suffering can be a misery
Sometimes suffering can be a misery to us. There are times when we cannot figure out the reason why we are going through a difficult time. You can sit down and try to figure out why you are being afflicted and still you will lack answers for it.
Is our Suffering Meaningless
Our suffering is not meaningless. There is always a need-be for it. From our good physician, he will send what is good for us and He will make sure that we do not have too much or too little. One thing we can be sure is that:
Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.
I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.
When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.
Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning.
Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.–John Piper
All things work for good to them that God. That passage is very common, probably you have told it to someone or you heard it someone say it to you. But above all, it is very true. All things, both bad and good, are working for your good.
When you see people suffer, it may not necessary be that they have sinned. Therefore avoid saying things like; You need to repent. This was mistake that friends of Job did. They accused him falsely.
Again let us remember that our God is good and he is working everything for our good. When we are afflicted, let us know that God is with us and he will hold us dear when we turn to him.
When we are suffering, it is not the reason for the suffering we need but consolation and comfort which the Lord gives graciously.
Think about this short poem by George Herbert.
Ah, my deare angrie Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sowre-sweet dayes
I will lament, and love.