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WHY DO WE SUFFER?
Table of Contents
The Suffering of Jesus Ch. 1
Why Does God Allow Suffering Ch. 2
Reasons for Suffering Ch. 3
Sources of Suffering Ch. 4
Proper Reactions to Suffering Ch. 5
Suffering is Good? Is Bad? Ch. 6
Questions About Suffering Ch. 7
Just keep Your Faith #188
Those Three Dark Hours #1359
Let Me Trust In Thee # 15
When I Need Him Most #262
One Step At A Time #120
JUST KEEP YOUR FAITH
God’s love is like the calm, after a storm,
Comforting and peaceful; and so warm!
In life, many storms do come about,
Just keep your faith; and don’t ever doubt!
God’s love is like a warm gentle rain,
Falling on dry, parched land again.
We , like the land, must have rain to live,
Just keep your faith; and His love He’ll give.
God’s love is like a mountain, so tall,
Strong and majestic; He won’t let us fall!
Satan tries to tempt you, ev’ry day,
Just keep your faith; and to the Lord, do pray.
God’s love is like an anchor, dropped deep,
Moored securely; us He will keep.
Great angry billows roll thru’ our life,
Just keep your faith; He takes away strife.
God’s love is like a lighthouse, so high,
His light shines far out; no one can deny!
No matter how great the storm; He’s there!
Just keep your faith; no one can compare!
By: His servant, Connie Kramer Apr.2,1996 # 188
(Jer.31:3; 17:7; Nah.1:7; Ps.46:1; 25:6; Deut.4:37; 7:8; Is.26:3; Jn.3:16; Ro.5:8; 8:32; Ep.2:4-5; 1 Jn.3:1; 4:9,16-19; Heb.11:6; Jude 5; Mt.17:20; Mk.9:23)
Any time God’s children suffer, no matter the cause; unless we run to Him and ask for His wisdom, strength, guidance and comfort, we will suffer much more than need be. But when we go to Him in sincere prayer we will be comforted by His amazing Presence and grace. God loves His children, very much! Let Him prove it to you!
Scripture verses taken from: [KJV] King James Version
Yellow bold italics is Jesus’ Words.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. [KJV]
THIS BOOK IS NOT COPYRIGHTED,
AND IS NEVER TO BE COPYRIGHTED.
This book is free and not to be sold.
IT MAY BE USED BY “WHOSOEVER”
TO EDIFY THE CHURCH, AND TO
HONOR AND GLORIFY GOD.
WHY DO WE SUFFER?
Written and compiled by: HIS SERVANT, Connie Kramer
*****Believe what God states about His Son.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [KJV]
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. [KJV]
1 John 5:11-12 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (KJV) Do you believe this?
*****Receive the Gift of salvation.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [KJV]
You can never ‘grow’ into being a Christian! You can never do enough ‘good’ things to become a Christian. Your name on the church roll, nor your church attendance will never make you a Christian. Belonging to a certain denomination will never make you a Christian. You must be born into God’s family by faith.
When you believe God’s Word and receive His Son into your heart and life, then, and only then, are you a Christian. Once you are in the family of God, THEN you will grow as a Christian, and work for our Lord! Once you make a TRUE heart-felt commitment to Christ, HE makes a life-long commitment to you! He gives you eternal life and a future home in Heaven. You are saved! Once God’s child; His child forever!
So many people, believers and non-believers alike, wonder why they have to suffer so much. When suffering takes hold of a person, they never consider there might be reason! When a child of God suffers, many times they forget just how much their Saviour had to suffer for them! Their suffering is so intense, all they can think of is their pain and agony. NO ONE suffered more than our Lord, Jesus, ever! And God’s Word plainly tells us we are NOT exempt from pain and suffering!
Are you following Jesus but still suffering, or maybe suffering even worse than before? Consider Moses, when he took God’s message to Pharaoh, just as God had directed him to do. What was the result? Harder work and more oppression for the Hebrew people! There may be times for us also, when hardship and suffering may come as a result of obeying God. If you are suffering, don’t assume you have fallen out of God’s favor. You may be suffering for doing good in an evil world.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. [KJV] . . . God’s way of living contradicts the world’s way! We are to “rejoice” when we suffer. Do you rejoice when you suffer for Christ???
The SUFFERING of JESUS
Mark 15:31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. [KJV] . . . Jesus COULD HAVE saved Himself. He COULD HAVE called down numerous angels to stop His agony.
Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [KJV] . . . But He endured this suffering because of His love for us. He COULD HAVE avoided all that pain and humiliation; He COULD HAVE killed those who mocked Him; but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies.
We had a important part in the drama that day, because our sins were on His cross too! Jesus died on that cross for us; the penalty for our sins was paid by His death. The only satisfactory response we can make is to confess (admit) our sin and accept the fact that Jesus paid the price for it, so we would not have to. We insult and outrage God when we have indifference toward this greatest act of authentic love in history. Pure, sinless Jesus was made sin for us that most miserable day on the cross! We must believe this Truth, made clear to us by the sufferings of Christ, and seek salvation! With great and humble gratitude and thanksgiving we should receive the forgiveness He offers, and firmly grab hold of the Gift of eternal life; as purchased for us by the sufferings and death of the only begotten Son of God!
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. [KJV] . . . Isaiah was allowed by God to look forward to the sufferings of Christ. How could he understand the idea of Christ dying for our sins, and actually bearing the punishment that we deserved? The sacrifices the Jewish priests offered for the sins of the people suggested this idea; but it is one thing to kill a lamb as a sacrifice, and something quite different to think of God’s only begotten Son as that Lamb. It was for our sins, and in our place, that our Lord Jesus suffered. We ALL have sinned, and we ALL have come short of the glory of God. Our sins deserve to be punished, because sin puts us in danger of God’s wrath and hellfire; but we are saved from that destruction, when we lay our sins on Christ. This atonement was to be made for our sins. And this is the only way of salvation. Our sins were the thorns in Christ’s head, the nails in His Hands and Feet, the spear in His Side. He was delivered to His death for OUR offenses. By His sufferings He purchased for us the friendship and grace of God. He subdued all our wickedness, which are the cancers of our souls. We can more easily endure our lighter sufferings; for if we are truly God’s children, we regard all things but loss for Him (Phil.3:8), and we love Him who first loved us (1 John 4:19).
CRUCIFIXION was a common form of punishment among heathen nations in early times. This was a most horrible form of death, and to a Jew it would mean greater horror from the curse in it.
Deuteronomy 21:23-A His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;). - - - - - - - - [KJV] . . . Crucifixion began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging (violent lashing). With our Lord, His scourging started BEFORE the sentence was even passed upon Him,. It was inflicted by Pilate, probably to excite pity and try to obtain His escape from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1). The one who was condemned carried his own cross to the place of execution, which was outside the city, in some noticeable place set apart for the purpose. Before they nailed the condemned person to the cross, a cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh was given, to help deaden the pain of the sufferer. Our Lord refused this cup, so that His senses might be clear (Mat. 27:34). A spongeful of vinegar, was put on a hyssop stalk and offered to our Lord in contemptuous pity (Ps. 69:21; Mat.27:34. 48; Luke 23:36; John 19:29). The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases. Jesus was crucified between two criminals, “malefactors” (Isa.53:12; Luke 23:32). He was watched by four soldiers (John 19:23; Mat.27:36, 54), and their centurion. The “breaking of the legs” of those condemned was done in order to hurry death, and put them out of misery (John 19:31); but the unusual speed of our Lord's death (John 19:33) was due to His previous sufferings and His great mental anguish. Omitting the breaking His legs was the fulfillment of prophecy (Ex.12:46; Ps. 34:20). He literally died of a broken heart, a ruptured heart; causing the flow of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier's spear (John 19:34). Our Lord uttered seven memorable ‘words’ from the cross, namely: (1.) Luke 23:34; (2.) Luke 23:43; (3.) John 19:26; (4.) Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34; (5.) John 19:28; (6.) John 19:30; (7.) Luke 23:46.
His pre-death suffering was horrible; they hit Him in the Face, they spit on Him, they pulled out His beard (Is. 50:6; Mark 14:65). He was mocked and insulted (Ps. 22:6-8; Mt. 27:39-40).
He was surrounded by enemies and beaten so severely that His bones were exposed; in other words, His Flesh was slashed clear to the bone (Ps. 22:16-7).
Isaiah 52:13-14 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: [KJV] . . . Jesus was beaten, bloodied and so badly disfigured one would scarcely know who He was. God’s Servant (His Son) did indeed succeed! And He indeed was highly exalted! Our precious Lord Jesus was horribly wounded, “beyond human likeness;” but through His suffering, He would cleanse the sins of the world. These verses are a wonderful, faithful and true description of the office, character and glory of the Messiah (Christ), which has convicted many of even the most hardened unbelievers. Christ is Wisdom in the work of our redemption. From this Truth emerges the wisdom of God in a mystery.
Can you actually picture this pathetic Man in all His suffering? Truly NO man ever suffered as He did, and no one ever will. His mental agony alone would be more than any of us could bear. Those that did see Him, never saw a Man look so miserable and forlorn. There never was, or ever will be, sorrow like His sorrow. God the Father CANNOT stand to look on sin, any sin. And when Jesus took on the sins of the whole world, God turned away. I think this was harder on our Lord than any other thing He endured! It was then that He uttered those heart-wrenching words from the cross!
Matthew 27:46-B - - - - - My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [KJV]
God highly exalted Him. That is discovered in the Gospel of Christ, which could never be told in any other way. Christ shed His Blood for all sinners, and His power still continues this day, and will forever. May everyone see the wisdom of the Gospel, and cease from their rejecting the Saviour. Go to the foot of the cross this day, and let the Blood of Christ Jesus cleanse you from all wrongs, and then thank Him, praise Him for what He has done for us!
I am going to add this from our commentary on Luke: Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (KJV) . . .
And being in an agony . . . in conflict with the devil, who some say now appeared visibly to Jesus, in a horrible form. After Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, Satan left Jesus for a season (Lk.4:13), until another opportunity would come, as now, and now the prince of this world (Jn.14:30) came to Him; and attacked Him in the garden, where the first start on His human nature was made. Now the battle between the two combatants, the serpent, and the seed of the woman began.
He prayed more earnestly . . . Jesus repeated the words He had said before with greater eagerness and persistence, with fervor of Spirit, with strong crying, and tears to Him that was able to save Him from death (Heb.5:7).
And his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground . . . this account of Christ's bloody sweat is given only by Luke, who being a physician, as is thought, recorded things which fit in to his profession. That it is not mentioned by the other Gospel writers is no unusual thing with them, for one records that which is not in the others. This sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood is a medical term called hematohidrosis. Around the sweat glands, there are many blood vessels in a net-like form. Under the pressure of great stress the vessels tighten. Then as the anxiety passes “the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture.” The blood goes into the sweat glands. As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface, and it comes out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat. It seems that the intention of Luke is to clearly convey the idea that Jesus’ sweat was like drops of blood and was colored with blood from pure blood.
THOSE THREE DARK HOURS
When Jesus hung on that cross, without ev’n one friend,
Those three hours of darkness, I cannot comprehend!
‘Twas a private time, between the Father and Son,
When my sin debt was paid, and Christ’s battle was won!
There is NO way, I can comprehend Jesus’ love,
Coming to Earth to die, leaving Heaven above!
He left the comfort of Heav’n’s safety, to endure great agony,
For the likes of a nobody, like sinful me!
NO earthly mortal, this kind of love could possess,
We are filled way too much, with worldly wickedness.
We are blessed indeed, to access this kind of love,
In this evil, immoral world, of push and shove!
In those three hours of darkness, Christ took on my sins,
The devil was jubilant, he thought he would win!
But it was Christ Jesus, who had the victory,
In those three hours of darkness; that Godly mystery!
Jesus paid my full sin debt, in those dark three hours,
Ne’er did He doubt, fear, hesitate, waver or cower!
He tolerated all, that agony and pain,
Ne’er did He protest, object, grumble or complain.
The suffering that He endured, for you and for me,
Was love indescribable, that set our souls free!
Jesus’ love surpasses all, that we could ever know,
We’re privileged indeed, that on us His love does flow!
Have you e’er considered, those three hours of darkness?
When our precious Saviour, brought us such great success?
Have you thanked Him, for providing the only Way,
That we might access, Heav’n’s glorious beauty one day?
By: His servant, Connie Kramer Oct.5, 2014 #1359
All forsook Him: (Mat.26:31,54-56; Mk.14:27,50-52; Jn.16:32; 18:8-9; 2 Tim.4:16; Ps.38:11) Darkness: (Mat.27:45; Mk.15:25,33-34; Lk.23:44-45) Love of Christ: (Mk.10:21; Jn.10:11; 11:3; 13:1,34; 14:6,21; 15:9,13; 19:26; 20:2; Rom.5:7; 8:35-38; 2 Cor. 5:14; Gal.2:20; Eph.3:19; 5:2,25; 1 Tim.1:14; 1 Jn.3:16) Battle between Christ and Satan: Gen.3:15; The devil’s seed: (Mat.3:7, 12:34; 23:33; Jn.8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 Jn.3:8,10). Her seed: Ps.132:11; Isa.7:14; Jer.31:22; Mic.5:3; Mat.1:23,25; Lk.1:32-35,76; Gal.4:4). Gift Of God: (Mat.7:11; Jn.4:10; 6:32; Acts 8:20; 15:11; Rom.5:15,18; 6:23; 8:32; 11:29; 1 Cor.7:7; 2 Cor.9:15; Eph.2:8; 2 Tim.1:6; 1 Jn.4:9; 5:11)
That this general darkness was totally supernatural is evident that it happened at the Passover, which was celebrated ONLY at the full moon, a time in which it was impossible for the sun to be eclipsed, natural eclipses happening only at the time of the new moon.
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING
Suffering . . . what is it? It can be discomfort, anguish, distress, torment, pain, heartache, misery, anxiety, dread, worry, fear, sorrow, grief, sadness, misery, woe, agony, depression, etc. Are these things common to God’s people? Yes, God can and does allow suffering to come into your life for a variety of reasons. Many times it is caused by Satan.
Suffering is helpful when we turn to God for understanding, endurance and deliverance; but if we become hardhearted and reject God, suffering can be very harmful to us.
(1.) It can be helpful when we ask questions and learn from it; but harmful when we miss any lessons that could be learned from it.
(2.) It can be helpful when we accept help from God’s true children; but harmful if we refuse help others can give us.
(3.) It can be helpful if we are willing and ready to learn from a trustworthy God; but harmful if we stubbornly refuse to believe that God can bring any good out of an apparent disaster.
(4.) It can be helpful when we realize our suffering is minor compared to what Jesus suffered for us; but harmful when we accuse God of being unfair and unjust. Our “Why me, Lord?” may cause others to reject Jesus. Have YOU ever been guilty of saying: “Why me, Lord?”
(5.) It can be helpful when we see all the suffering in the world and know we are not alone; but harmful when we think only of our misery, and reject any changes God may want to bring to our lives.
Satan tries to tell us that people believe in God only when they are well, happy and prospering. This is wrong. Actually I think a true believer is driven closer to God when they are sick, sad and down and out. God’s view on suffering is that it causes us to trust who He is, and teaches us to depend totally upon Him, both in good times and bad.
Afflictions such as hardships, troubles, adversity, grief, misfortune, trials and tribulations are common to all people. Actually they are for the good of mankind, and the glory of God. They are to be borne with patience by God’s children.
Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; [KJV]
Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. [KJV] . . . All suffering and afflictions are directed by God alone, and will result in the eternal good of His people.
Lamentations 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. [KJV]
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [KJV] . . . Our troubles should never lessen our faith or deceive us. We should always realize that God has a purpose for our suffering (Rom. 8:28).
Our problems and human limitations have great benefits: (IF we are wise!)
(1.) They remind us of how much Christ suffered for us;
(2.) They keep us from pride and arrogance;
(3.) They make us look beyond this brief life on Earth;
(4.) They proclaim our faith to others; and
(5.) They give God the opportunity to demonstrate His Almighty power. We should always see our troubles as opportunities!
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [KJV] . . . There are people who believe God will heal every disease or suffering they may have, IF their faith is strong enough. I cannot go along with this. WHY? Because of this Passage. Paul was indeed a man of God! His faith was extremely strong! Yet, God chose NOT to heal his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12: 7-8). Paul asked God three times to remove it; God did NOT remove it! WHY?? This Passage gives us God’s answer! God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness! God did not remove Paul’s physical affliction, but He did promise to illustrate His power in Paul. The fact that God’s power is made unmistakable in weak people should give us courage! It teaches us to recognize our weaknesses and limitations, and turn to God for the full effect of His awesome power. It teaches us we must rely completely on God; NOT on our own energy, talent or efforts. Our weakness can help us develop a solid Christian character. It also deepens our reverence for God; for we must admit just how weak we really are and proclaim Almighty God’s power and wisdom!
REASONS for SUFFERING
The reasons we suffer are many! I have never put this many down in one place in a Bible study before, but I will now in this booklet. I am quite sure I will not list all there is, but I will name thirty different reasons why God allows us to suffer. All the reasons will benefit us in some way. Suffering is NOT all bad! Please do NOT always say: “Why me, Lord?”
(1.) Draws us closer to God.
Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. [KJV] . . . All too often, in times of good, when we are resting in comfort, plenty and ease . . . and we tend to forget all about God. These ‘good’ times can be more harmful to us than times of trouble and woe. We tend to wander off from His love and His commandments. It is then that God must step in and discipline us. This can, and does happen to the very ‘best’ Christians. So, what can God do to get our attention? Suffering tops the list!
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. [KJV] . . . The suffering that God sends is good for us, for it teaches us to pay attention to our standard of conduct, for we then follow more closely and carefully to God and His Word. However God deals with us, it is always better than we deserve. God visits His people with affliction that they may learn to obey Him. God’s Promises, and even His laws, though hard to ungodly men, are desirable and profitable to us, because they lead us with safety and delight into eternal life.
(2.) Suffering Produces patience.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [KJV] . . . We should be honored when we receive suffering at the Hand of God, knowing He cares for us, for it is done in love and kindness.
James 1:3-4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. [KJV] . . . There are many people who absolutely refuse to pray for patience, because they KNOW it will bring suffering their way in some form. This is an extremely immature way of thinking! Patience is a “fruit of the Spirit.” It is an attribute of our precious Lord! We need patience! If it must take suffering to bring this Christ-like characteristic to us . . . so be it!
(3.) Suffering produces joy.
Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. [KJV] . . . Have you ever had mental suffering because you felt you were not ‘right’ with God? It is a terrible feeling! I know! Go back over your day to figure out what sin you have not confessed. Great joy will come out of that suffering.
Psalm 126:5-6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. [KJV] . . . We as God’s children must have ‘tears’ for the lost ones; some in our immediate family. This promises that if we spread the Gospel, one day we will rejoice!
(4.) Suffering produces maturity.
Ecclesiastes 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. [KJV] . . . Sorrow may sadden your face, but it sharpens your understanding. V]
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. [KJV] . . . “Perfect” refers to our progress towards spiritual maturity. “Stablish” is improving our faithfulness. “Strengthen” is our growing where we are weakest and lowest. “Settle” means we are to stand firm on a sure Foundation. We should always strive to persevere and progress in these graces. Suffering helps us to do this.
(5.) Produces righteousness in us.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. [KJV] . . . God’s chastening us is NOT a happy time, it is a grievous time, but in the end, it brings the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
(6.) Suffering teaches us.
Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. [KJV] . . . The discomfort of God’s anger lasts only a moment, but the good effects go on for a long time. God’s anger should be as a sharp pain that warns us to turn from sin. Our happiness comes from God’s Divine favor; but as long as God’s anger continues, our weeping will too. If you are wise, you will make things right with God, as fast as you can.
(7.) Suffering purifies our lives.
Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.  Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.  Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. [KJV] . . . Just as fire refines silver, suffering and trials refine our character. They bring to us a deeper wisdom, which helps us discern truth from falsehood and gives us the self-control to do what we know is right. Suffering helps us realize that life is a gift from God to be cherished, not something to be taken for granted.
(8.) Makes us more like Christ.
Hebrews 12:9-11 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. [KJV] . . . Our earthly parents may at times chasten us to satisfy their anger, rather than correct us. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves or afflicts His children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here on Earth is a state of childhood, and therefore we must submit to the discipline of our Father.
(9.) Suffering keeps us from sinning.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. [KJV] . . . When we are strong in our abilities or talents, we are tempted to do things on our own. That leads to pride. When we know we are weak, we allow God to fill us with His power and wisdom; then we are stronger than we could ever be on our own. When problems come, we must depend on God. Only His power will make us effective for Him and will help us do work that is pleasing to Him and has lasting value.
(10.) Makes us confess when we do sin.
Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. [KJV] . . . When David sinned, as we all do, he went to God and asked for forgiveness. He got it!
Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. [KJV] . . . We need to complain more of our sins than of our sufferings. That is when we will catch a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel. When we are under the conviction of sin, and the correction of His rod, let us think first of our sin which so easily besets us (Heb.12:1). Those who are led by severe trials and suffering should seek God, and must do so earnestly and sincerely. It is then they will find Him a very present help and an efficient refuge (Ps.46:1).
(11.) Suffering makes us glorify God.
Psalm 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. [KJV] In our suffering we must go to the Lord in eager prayer. Our troubles must drive us to Him, not away from Him. We must proclaim Him in all our ways, depend on His wisdom, His power, His mercy, and His goodness. We must entrust ourselves completely to Him, and give Him honor and glory in all things.
(12.) Proves our son-ship.
Hebrews 12:5-6 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [KJV] . . . If God did not love His children, He would not chasten and correct us (with suffering).
(13.) Reveals ourselves to ourselves.
Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, [KJV] . . . The prodigal son was in a degrading state of misery. He did finally come to himself. That’s the turning point in any sinner’s conversion. His eyes were opened, he realized just what a sinner he was. He sees himself in a different light. The prodigal son did not stop until he reached his home, and the Father runs and meets him with His forgiving love. When we suffer for sin, we see ourselves as we really are.
(14.) Suffering helps our prayer life.
Isaiah 26:16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. [KJV] . . . God will punish His people when we stray from Him. It is then, in our suffering that we run to Him in prayer, begging forgiveness and to be restored to fellowship with Him.
(15.) Makes us an example to others.
2 Corinthians 6:4-5 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; [KJV] . . . We as Christians live for today. Tomorrow may not be ours. We should enjoy this day of grace that the Lord has allowed us, taking all care not to neglect it. “Ministers of God” does NOT require that only pastors should see themselves as God’s servants. If you are a “born again” child of God, you too are a servant of God, in fact you are a “priest” (1 Peter 2:9). Serving God is NOT an option! You must reach out to others. It is a command from Jesus (Mat. 28:19). A “minister” is simply a servant! And when you reach out to people with the Gospel of Christ, there will be times you will suffer. You will be blasphemed, persecuted, harassed and hated by some. But you must endure these troubles, hardships and calamities with patience and love, being an example to those around you. You will be rewarded one day.
(16.) Qualifies us as counselors.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. [KJV] . . . No Child of God should ever think that he or she is totally independent and doesn’t need help from others. There will be times when the strongest of us will gladly and humbly accept help from another. And no one is exempt from the task of helping others. Do you know someone who is suffering and needs help? Do you know someone who is lonely? Do you know a Christian brother or sister who needs correction or encouragement, or just a shoulder to cry on? Humbly, in gentle love, reach out to that person.
(17.) Furthers our Gospel witness.
Philippians 1:12-13 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; [KJV] . . . Being imprisoned, (for preaching the Gospel) would cause most people to become bitter or to give up, but Paul saw it as one more opportunity to spread the Good News of Christ. Paul knew his circumstances weren’t as important as what he did with them. He turned a bad situation into a good one, by reaching out to the Roman soldiers who were guarding Him. He also encouraged Christians who were afraid of persecution. Whether we are in prison or not, we have many times we get discouraged. How we act in such situations will reflect what we truly believe. Like Paul, we should look for ways to demonstrate our faith even in bad situations, in our worst suffering. Our situation may not improve, but our faith will certainly grow stronger. For more on the apostle Paul’s suffering, see 2 Cor. 11:23-27.
(18.) Makes us more than conquerors.
Romans 8:35, 37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?- - - - - - - -  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [KJV] . . . No matter what trouble comes our way, they can never cause the love of Christ to stop; nor ever show any lessening of His love. Many things in our life will cause us to suffer, in different ways; some will be little trifling things, some will completely overwhelm us, but the love of Christ will always be there for us! But if our soul that is “in Christ,” cleaves ever so tightly to Christ, no matter what problem arises, no matter the severity of our suffering, He will see us through! We will be more than conquerors because of Jesus!
(19.) Suffering shows us God’s nature.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [KJV] . . . The sufferings of God’s people are light afflictions, lasting but for a moment when they are compared to eternity. How greatly different is the opinion of the world, pertaining to the sufferings of this present life! The miseries and sufferings of the human race, through their own and each other’s wickedness, show that the world is not always to continue as it is now. There is a better life not too far in the distant future for all those who are “born again” into God’s family (John 1:12-13). We cannot even begin to compare this miserable life with the glorious one in the bliss of Heaven.
20. Drives us to God for contentment.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: [KJV] . . . The Spirit of Christ abides with us to strengthen those who are persecuted for their faith. We can be assured, that whenever we suffer because of our loyalty to Christ, He will be with us all the way. He will never leave our side!
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. [KJV] . . .
God always hears the prayer of faith, but He does not always give what we ask for. Sometimes He will give us something in anger, because of our persistence of wanting ‘wrong’ things, thus teaching us a lesson; and sometimes He denies us in love. If God does not take away our troubles but He gives grace to see us through, we have no reason to complain. God’s grace can enlighten, enliven, empower and give us contentment. It can be sufficient to strengthen and comfort in all afflictions. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore His grace is clearly displayed and magnified. Any time we are weak in ourselves, we can be strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any time we feel we are weak in ourselves, we must run to Christ and receive strength and wisdom from Him. In doing so, our suffering will take on a whole new perspective.
(21.) Suffering make us humble.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [KJV] . . . Paul was given a glimpse of Heaven’s bliss and glory (2 Cor. 12:2-4). The Bible does not say what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was. Whatever it was, it was constant and it weakened him. This “thorn” was a hindrance to his ministry, and he prayed for its removal; but God refused. Paul was very independent, so this thorn must have been very difficult for him. It kept Paul humble, reminding him of his constant need for God, and it benefited those around him for they saw God working in his life. Our suffering can do the same thing in our lives.
(22.) Suffering makes us strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. [KJV] . . . Sickness, sorrow, hindrances and setbacks will come, and when they do, we must trust God. Only His power will make us effective in doing our work for Him. Paul says we should “take pleasure” in our sufferings. Do YOU take pleasure in your suffering?
Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; [KJV] . . . When we pray for spiritual strength, we are not restricted in His Promises, and we should not be so in our hopes. When the grace of God is firm in the hearts of believers, there is power, and it is from God, and His awesome glory is in this power. We use this special strength for sufferings. God’s work is there to be done, even when we are suffering, but even in the midst of our suffering we should always give thanks to the Father of our Lord Jesus, whose grace allows us to partake in the inheritance (John 14:1-2; 1 Pet.1:4), provided for the saints.
(23.) Suffering makes us sympathetic.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [KJV] . . . So many people think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if we would just think about that, we would know that is NOT how our God works. If He did, the only time we would turn to Him would be when we wanted our pain to be relieved, and not out of love for Him. God’s comfort means receiving strength, encouragement and hope to deal with our troubles. The more we suffer, the more comfort God will give us. If your suffering overwhelms you, allow God to comfort you. But then, after God has comforted us in a particular hardship, we need to remember that every trial we endure will help us comfort other people who are suffering with a similar problem. We will be more sympathetic toward their suffering and help them through it. The kindness and help God bestows upon us, not only brighten our day, but also gives us the ability to be useful to others. Let us always willingly trust and serve the God of Comfort! Perfect title for God!
(24.) Trains us to depend on God.
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. [KJV] . . . We should depend on God alone, and put our hope in Him. Sincere heart-felt prayer has the power to release our tensions in times of emotional stress. Trusting God to be our Rock, our Salvation, and our Fortress will change our entire outlook on life. No longer is it necessary to be held prisoner by the misery of resentment that we hold toward others when they hurt us. When we rest in God’s strength and wisdom, suffering cannot hold us captive.
(25.) Tests our values.
Job 14:22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn. [KJV] . . . Suffering can bring a vigorous quality to life. Just as drought drives the roots of a tree deeper into the earth to find water; suffering can drive us beyond just a shallow acceptance of Truth, to a true and lasting dependence on God for hope and life. As long as we live, our body shall have pain; and while our soul is yet within us, it shall mourn. The suffering we bear tests our true values in life.
(26.) Suffering will bring us a reward.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [KJV] . . . The small and temporary trouble we suffer now, will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble we face.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. [KJV] . . . “Blessed” means to experience hope and joy, free from outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, and the deepest form of happiness, we must follow Jesus, no matter what the cost. Our suffering is minor compared to the eternal joy we will experience in Heaven. What a “reward” awaits those who are faithful to our Lord Jesus!
(27.) Prepares us for the Kingdom.
2 Thes. 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: [KJV] . . . Living for Christ in an evil world means we will experience many problems, because we are trying to do good and be God’s people. Some say that troubles come because of sin or lack of faith, but Paul teaches something different; that they may be a part of God’s plan for us. Our problems should help us look up and forward, instead of to our own power. Troubles can build a strong character; and they can allow us opportunities to comfort others who also are struggling. Your suffering may indicate that you are on the ‘right road’ by taking a stand for Christ.
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [KJV] . . . God promises His children that someday we will live eternally with Him in Heaven. This means believers will live in Christ’s Kingdom, and that we will share in the management of that Kingdom. This Truth comforted Paul as he went through suffering and death. When we face hardships, we must NEVER turn away from God! WHY? Because He promises all who are faithful and obedient a wonderful future with Him. God is faithful when He threatens, and He is faithful to His Promises. This Truth assures us of the unbeliever’s condemnation to Hell, and the believer’s salvation to the shores of Heaven.
(28.) Shows us God’s sovereignty.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [KJV] . . . God works in “all things” . . . not just a few isolated incidents, for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is common in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every situation around for our long-range good. God does not work to make us happy, but to fulfill HIS purpose. This Promise is NOT for everybody. It can be claimed ONLY by those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Those who are “called” are those who the Holy Spirit persuades to receive Christ Jesus. These people have a new viewpoint on life. They trust in God’s eternal goodness, not life’s fleeting treasures; they look for their security in Heaven, not on Earth; they learn to humbly accept pain and persecution because they know God is with them.
Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.  Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.  Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. [KJV] . . . Most unbelievers do not like the word ‘sovereignty.’ In fact some believers have trouble with it. Sovereignty means God has supremacy and complete dominion over the entire universe. But, in fact, God is sovereign! He can do as He pleases with whomever He pleases. If it pleases Him to bring affliction and suffering on us, then so be it, but just remember, IF you are truly His child by faith in Jesus (John 1:12-13), that affliction, that suffering will benefit you in some way in the end. Suffering is NOT all bad! When we suffer, it will only tend to enhance our life in some way.
(29.) Expect suffering to come.
James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. [KJV] . . . James does NOT say IF you face trials, but WHEN you face them. We ALL will have trials, and it IS possible to profit from them. We should have a positive outlook (“count it all joy”) because of what trials can do in our lives. Our hardships should be turned into times of learning. Tough times can teach us perseverance (patience and steadfastness). We will not really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. We can be kind to others when everything is going well, that’s easy! But what about when others treat us rotten and mean? God wants to us to grow spiritually, to become mature and complete. Suffering is a ‘tool’ which God uses to do this. To keep us from all pain and suffering would NOT be ‘good’ for us. Let us not complain about our suffering but see them as opportunities to grow. Thank God, for He has promised to be with you in bad times. Ask Him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. He will rarely take your problem away immediately, but He will walk with you through your most difficult times. Always be patient.
(30.) Opens windows when doors are shut.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [KJV] . . . I have always loved this verse! It tells me that any time that God shuts the doors in your life, look around . . . there will be a window open somewhere! He will always make a way for us to escape! Every trial that you go through is the kind that normally comes to people. God will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm. He will give you the strength to endure it, and also provide a way out for you.
God will never give us more than we are able to bear! I’ve had some people in my classes say: “God must think I’m really tough!” For they have been through some pretty rough times.
In our world today, filled with moral depravity and sin-inducing pressures, we need to be encouraged about suffering and temptation.
(1.) Wrong desires and temptations happen to everyone, don’t feel you’ve been singled out.
(2.) Others resist temptation, so can you.
(3.) Any temptation can be resisted because God will help you resist it.
God helps you resist temptation by helping you:
(1.) To recognize people and situations that could give you trouble.
(2.) Run from anything you know is wrong.
(3.) To choose right over wrong.
(4.) Pray for God’s help.
(5.) To choose the right friends.
Running from a tempting situation is the first step to victory. Run, fast and hard!
SOURCES OF SUFFERING
There are many ways suffering originates. Who or what is responsible?
Consider the following:
(1.) My sin. I am responsible! It affects me and others. What should I do? Repent and confess your sin to God.
(2.) Others sin. Person who sinned and others allowing the sin is responsible. It affects many people, especially those who sinned. What should I do? Actively resisting sinful behavior.
(3.) Avoidable physical (or natural) disaster. Persons who ignore the facts or refuse to take precautions are responsible. What should I do? Prevent them if possible, prepare yourself if they can’t be stopped.
(4.) Unavoidable physical (or natural) disaster. God is responsible (but maybe Satan). Most people present are affected. What should I do? Keep a steady, ongoing trust in God’s faithfulness.
(5.) Satan. (Job ch.1 & 2) Satan is responsible. The one or ones he targets is affected. What should I do? James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [KJV] . . . The ‘key’ . . . submit yourself to God!
(6.) Suffering caused by the ungodly. (2 Tim. 4:14). They are responsible. All whom they choose for their oppressing and dastardly deeds are affected. What should I do? Keep yourself well informed, take special care not to fall prey to seemingly ‘good’ deals. There is as much (or more) danger from false brethren, as there is from open enemies.
(7.) Caused by this world. (2 Peter 2:8) Evil unbelievers are responsible. It affects many people. What should I do? Regard people of the ‘world’ (unbelievers) to be capable of many wicked actions, for most are greedy and immoral.
(8.) May be caused by believers. (Rom.7:14-25). We should do ‘good’ but many times evil is what we do. Our old carnal (fallen) nature is responsible. We, and others around us are affected. What should I do? Thank God for Jesus Christ, and run to Him in prayer.
(9.) Caused by carnal Christians. (Philip. 1:16; 2 Tim. 4:10). Those who have forsaken the Lord and His people are responsible. Many who are just ‘looking’ to Christ will be affected, and new converts. What should I do? Reprimand those responsible, and comfort those who are hurt.
(10.) Caused by God’s chastening. (Hebrews 12:6-7; Proverbs 3:12) You are responsible. You are affected. What should I do? Go to God in prayer, repenting and confessing your sin.
When suffering or troubles happen, do they always come from Satan? NO! Not always. In Job’s story, his succession of tragedies DID come from Satan, but this is NOT always the case. There are many different causes of suffering. Any one of these, or a combination of them can produce suffering in our lives. If we know WHY we are suffering, this will teach us to AVOID the cause, and help us to respond properly during suffering.
PROPER REACTIONS TO SUFFERING
There are different ways to look at suffering. Satan’s view of suffering is that people believe in God only when they are prospering and not suffering. This is wrong. Suffering will do one of two things in a person’s life: (1.) Make them closer to God. (2.) Make them turn their backs on God.
Another view of suffering is that God’s judgment is always because of our sin. This is not always true.
A third view of suffering is that it is God’s way to teach, discipline and refine us. This is true, but not a complete explanation.
The forth and best view is God’s view to suffering; this being that it causes us to trust God for who He is, not what He does.
Just as there are many sources of suffering, and many views on suffering; there are also many different reactions to suffering.
What are the proper reactions to our suffering?
*****Expect suffering to come. John 15:19-20 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. [KJV] . . . It is a comfort to the greatest sufferers, if they suffer for Christ’s sake. The world’s ignorance is the true cause of its hatred to the disciples of Jesus. We must take this into consideration and try to educate them. “Go ye therefore” Jesus clearly tells us!
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [KJV] . . . This very clearly tells us that suffering will come!
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; [KJV] . . . James does NOT say IF you face trials, but WHEN you face them. He knows that we will have trials and that it is possible to profit from them. We need not pretend to be happy when we face pain, but instead have a positive outlook because of what trials can produce in our lives.
*****Commit yourself totally to God in suffering. Psalm 3:5-6 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. [KJV] . . . Sleep usually escapes us during a crisis. David could have turned his mind over to worry and sleepless nights when his son Absalom rebelled and gathered an army to kill him. But instead he slept peacefully. WHY? What made the difference? David cried out to the Lord, and the Lord heard him. His heart-felt prayer brought him peace. When we have full assurance that God is in control of circumstances, it is easier to sleep. If you lie awake at night worrying about circumstances you can’t change, do as David did; pour out your heart to God, and thank Him that He is in control. Peace will flood your soul, and sleep will come.
Psalm 31:15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. [KJV] . . . ALL of life’s circumstances are under God’s control. Knowing that God loves and cares for us enables us to keep steadfast in our faith regardless of our circumstances. We will know not to take matters into our own hands or resent God’s timetable. We have a Friend in Heaven who will NEVER fail us. Our time of life is in God’s hands, to lengthen or shorten, make bitter or sweet, according to His will. Our way is not in our own hands, nor in a friend’s or enemies’ hands, but in God’s Hands alone. It is in faith and confidence we pray, that the Lord will grant us comfort, strength and deliverance.
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. [KJV] . . . We will encounter great difficulties and hard encounters in life. We will go through many temptations, tribulations; many fightings without and fears within (2 Cor.7:5). But all our outward difficulties are minor, compared to the lusts and corruptions within us. These are our worst hindrances and troubles. The only way to keep our soul well, is to commit it to God by prayer, and by patient perseverance in well-doing.
*****Don’t try to understand all the reasons for your suffering. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [KJV] . . . If something is “good” for our souls, then it is “good” for God’s children. And, my friend, God knows what is “good” for our soul and body! Every divine intervention will be useful to our spiritual good, to them that love God. In some way suffering will benefit us in the end! It discourages us from sin, it brings us nearer to God, it weans us from the world and its treasures, and it qualifies us for Heaven. When God’s children act ‘out of character,’ God steps in with corrections to bring us back in again. God works in “all things” for our good, not just a few isolated incidents. We must always trust in God, and look for security in Heaven, not on Earth; and we must learn to willingly accept, not resent, any pain and persecution, because God is with us always (Heb.13:5).
*****Realize others suffer too. 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. [KJV] . . . Lions attack sick, young or wandering animals. They choose victims who are alone or not alert. Satan works in the same way. When we are feeling alone, weak, helpless and wander off from other believers, we become so focused on our troubles, we forget to watch for danger. It is then we are especially vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. During times of suffering, seek other Christians for support. Keep your eyes on Christ, resist the devil and “he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [KJV] . . . (1.) Wrong desires and temptations happen to everyone. (2.) Others resist temptation, so can you. (3.) God will help you resist any temptation. (4) God will never give you more than you can bear.
*****Pray. Psalm 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. [KJV] . . . Go to God in prayer while your problems are still small. Don’t wait until they overwhelm you.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. [KJV] . . . When we suffer, there is nothing more appropriate than prayer. In times of prayer, our spirit is most humble, and our heart is sincere and tender. We must exercise faith and hope under any and all afflictions; and prayer is the chosen instrument for obtaining and increasing these marvelous graces of God.
*****Don’t hate your suffering. Hebrews 12:5-A And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, - - - - - - - [KJV] Who loves his child more? A father who allows the child to do what will hurt him, or one who will correct, train, and even punish the child to help him learn what is right? It is never pleasant to be corrected or disciplined by God, but His discipline truly shows us His deep love for us. When God corrects you, and you are suffering because of it, think of it as proof of His love. Ask Him: “What are you trying to teach me?”
*****Don’t faint. Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto
you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [KJV] . . . Don’t get discouraged or lose heart when God scolds you. Hang in there!
Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. [KJV] . . . Times of trouble and suffering can be useful to us. They show us what we are really made of, what kind of character we have developed, and it can help us grow stronger. When Jeremiah questioned God because of the trouble he faced, God asked him how he expected to face big problems if the little ones played him out (Jer.12:5). We should not complain about our problems. We should not get discouraged. The troubles we face today is training us to be strong for the bigger problems we will face tomorrow.
*****Patiently endure. Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; [KJV] . . . God is honored by our hope and trust in Him. It makes Him glad when our faith is strong, especially when we rejoice in hope. We must be patient when He calls us to suffer. Patience, for God’s sake, is true devotion. If we “rejoice in hope,” we are most likely to be quite “patient in tribulation.” When we keep prayer lines open, suffering can be eased.
2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [KJV] . . . We are compared with soldiers who must discipline themselves and be willing to sacrifice. We must give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline. As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in all that is good; our faith, our perseverance, our love to God and Christ must grow stronger. All TRUE Christian soldiers must be faithful to their Captain, and enthusiastic in His cause. We must take great care to please Christ.
*****Thank God. Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. [KJV] . . . Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. A remarkable cure for depression is to meditate on the record of God’s goodness to His people. You will take your mind off your present situation and you will be given hope that it will improve. We must focus on God’s ability instead of our inability, to help ourselves. When we allow our soul to rest in itself, it will sink; but, if it grabs hold of the power and Promise of God, it will be kept far above the angry waves. We can have wondrous comfort in Him. We do have cause to mourn for our sin; but being “cast down” (depressed, discouraged) springs from lack of faith and a rebellious will. We should go to God and ask (beg) for His help, then praise Him!
1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. [KJV] . . . We should be thankful in ALL circumstances. This is what God wants from us in our life with Christ Jesus. This is not saying that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in EVERYTHING. No evil ever comes from God, so we should not thank Him for it. But when evil does strike, we can be thankful for God’s Presence and for the good that He will achieve through that adversity. A truly faithful life is a life of constant joy, and we would rejoice more, IF we prayed more. We should give thanks for His mercy, love, grace, power, forgiveness and wisdom that helps us all in our times of suffering.
*****Rejoice. James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; [KJV] . . . We should not pretend (hypocrite) to be happy when we face suffering, but have a positive outlook, “count it all joy” simply because of what trials can do in our lives. Hardships are times of learning. Tough times teach us steadfastness. We should not pray as much for removing the affliction, but . . . pray for wisdom to make a right use of it. We need wisdom to guide us under trials, to manage our spirit, and our affairs. We need to go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. Our faith and spirit will rise. There should be NO condition in life to hinder us from rejoicing in God. God has exalted us to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom of God. Let us “rejoice” no matter what affliction comes our way. This will please God!
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. [KJV] . . . Let us serve our God and bear our trials, as those who believe that in the end we will be blessed. Our eternal happiness is safe IF we trust Him: all else is pure vanity. Micaiah, like thousands of believers before and after him, was persecuted for his faith (1 Ki.22:8,14). Sometimes God protects us from it, sometimes He does not. As long as we remain faithful to God alone, we must expect persecution. God also seems to have a special reward for those who endure such persecution. Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel, Job, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, John, Stephen, and Paul name just a few in the Bible who suffered in terrible ways. Some day we can ask them: “Was it worth it?” Every one of them will answer a bold and non-hesitating “Yes!”
*****Don’t become a self-made martyr. Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (KJV) . . . Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to if we follow Christ in faith and draw from His strength. From that strength we will be able to help those around us who are weak and struggling. Faith, patience and prayer provide the means for believers to achieve success in our suffering that leaves us with tired hands and trembling knees. We must not give up! We must be persistent in our struggles of life. God will help us!
*****Don’t suffer needlessly. 1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [KJV] . . . We may suffer for many reasons. Suffering can be the direct result of our own sin; perhaps our foolishness; or the result of living in a sinful world. This verse refers to suffering that comes as a result of doing good. Christ never sinned, yet He suffered, that we could be set free. When we follow Christ’s example and live for others, we too may suffer at times. Our goal should be to face suffering as He did; patiently, willingly, calmly, and confidently. We must remember God is in control of the future.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. [KJV] . . . Sometimes our natural impatience may suggest to us this suffering is not justified, but what about Christ? In the case of our Lord’s suffering, He knew NO sin, yet He suffered instead of those who knew NO righteousness (us). The Lord’s sufferings had a reason: to reconcile us to God, and to bring us to eternal glory. He was put to death for “well doing.” If Christ Jesus could not be freed from His sufferings, what makes any Christian think they are better than He is?
*****Weigh your current suffering with the coming eternal glory. John 16:20-21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. [KJV] . . . There is a huge contrast between the disciples of Christ and the world (unbelievers)! The world’s values are most often the exact opposite of God’s values. This can cause God’s children to feel like outcasts. But even if life is difficult now, one day we will rejoice. Keep your eyes on Jesus and on God’s Promises! We as believers, have either joy or sorrow, depending on their view of Christ, and the closeness of His Presence.
My friend, great sorrow is soon coming for the ungodly; this is Truth, and nothing can change this fact. But the believer is an heir to joy which NO one can ever take away. Suffering is minor, compared to the joy and bliss of Heaven that lays ahead for God’s children.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [KJV] . . . Believers have been brought into a state of safety. We rely on our faith and hope to comfort us. We need patience, for our way may be rough and long. Our sufferings last no longer than the present time, they are light afflictions, and but for a moment (2 Cor.4:17). When we are enduring suffering and pain, these words do not seem to ring true, unless we trust in the almighty power and wisdom of God. Time is a strange thing! A year, a month, a week, or even a day sometimes seems endless to us. But, our clock and God’s clock are entirely different! (2 Pet.3:8).
Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. [KJV]
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [KJV] . . . How different is the opinion of the world, concerning the sufferings of this present time! The anguish of the human race, through their own and each other’s wickedness, seem to shout out that this world will not always to continue as it is. Our trust and faith in God encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations of a better life to come. Sin has been in the past and is yet today, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the Creation of God. It has brought on the woes of Earth; it has ignited the flames of Hell. As for mankind, not a tear has been shed, not a moan or cry of distress has been uttered, not a pain has been felt, in body, mind or spirit that has not come from sin. The majority of people never even consider how sin affects God.
Yes, the world is full of pain, sorrow, grief, distress, worry, oppression, hardship, affliction, trouble, adversity, problems, misery, disaster, agony, torture, trials and tribulation. It all started with our ‘parents’ Adam and Eve back in the Garden of Eden! They gave in to Satan and sin. It will not stop until God puts a new Heaven and new Earth in place. “Thy Kingdom come, Lord.”
SUFFERING IS GOOD?
SUFFERING IS BAD?
As I have tried to point out, suffering is NOT always all bad! LET’S SUMMARIZE WHY SUFFERING CAN BE GOOD; WHY IT CAN BE HELPFUL:
Suffering is very helpful if we turn to God for strength, wisdom, understanding, comfort, deliverance and endurance.
Suffering is helpful because we consider ‘life’ in a completely different way that we don’t normally do in ‘good’ times.
Suffering prepares us by making us stronger and more patient, that we may help others in a similar circumstance.
Suffering will come, but God will never give us more than we can bear.
Suffering through ‘little’ trials teaches us to be ready for the bigger ones that may come along.
Suffering humbles us, to the point that we are ready and willing to accept the help of other Christians.
Suffering makes us willing to listen and learn from our loving and trustworthy God.
Suffering is good because it gives us hope for the future.
Suffering draws us closer to our Heavenly Father, and to our precious Lord, Jesus.
Suffering is good because it clearly shows us we really suffer very little compared to our Saviour.
Suffering makes us more sensitive and compassionate to others around us.
SUFFERING CAN BE BAD AND HARMFUL WHEN:
Our heart becomes hard and we keep rejecting God, the only true help we have.
We miss out on any lessons we could have learned from the situation.
We allow the adversity or hardship to consume us, making us self-centered and selfish.
We withdraw from anyone who could help us.
We refuse to believe that any possible good could come out of a terrible affliction.
We refuse and reject any changes in our lives that we don’t think will benefit us.
We possibly lead people away from God because of our attitude.
It leads to self-pity.
When we accuse God of being unfair and unjust. In other words: “Why me, Lord?” Are we better than God’s own Son???
QUESTIONS ABOUT SUFFERING
We as God’s children, must develop an eternal perspective toward suffering. I know that when we suffer, there are times we feel that our pain will never end, but, we must look at things from a wider viewpoint. When we compare the suffering to eternity, we know that it will last only a ‘little while.’ Some of us will be delivered from our suffering in this lifetime; while others will receive comfort and strength to see us through the affliction, but will be released from their suffering only through death. We should NEVER question God, no matter what He decides. ALL of God’s faithful children are assured of eternal life with Christ where there will be NO more suffering ever! (Rev.21:4).
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN YOUR SUFFER:
(1.) Am I being punished by God for my sin? If you answer “yes” confess any known sin to God.
(2.) Is Satan attacking me as I try to live for Jesus? If you answer “yes” go to God in prayer asking for grace, wisdom and strength.
(3.) Am I being prepared, so that I might have more mercy on others? If you answer “yes” resist any self pity. Ask God to show you ways that you can help others when they suffer.
(4.) Is God testing my faith? If you answer “yes” accept help from other true Christians. Trust God to work out His purpose through you.
(5.) Is my suffering the result of some natural consequence for which I am not responsible or have no control over? If you answer “yes” you must realize that we live in a sinful world. Both good and evil people suffer. But know that God’s children have a tremendous Promise from God that our suffering will one day end!
(6.) Is my suffering due to an unknown reason? If you answer “yes’ please don’t become bitter or resentful to God or others around you because of the pain. Proclaim your faith in God, knowing that He cares. Be patient! He will help you!
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [KJV] . . . God works “in all things” . . . NOT just a few selected things in your life, for your good . . . IF you are God’s child! This verse is NOT for everybody! It is for “them who love Him” it is NOT for unbelievers, because unbelievers do NOT love Him! It is for “them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” I believe God calls every one, but only a “few” accept His call! (Mat.22, parable of the marriage feast). The ones who accept His call are those He has called “according to His purpose.”
God can turn EVERY bad situation in our lives into long-range good for us. God does not work to make us happy, but to fulfill His purpose, that being that He be glorified. We must trust God, NOT life’s treasures! We must learn to accept, not resent, any suffering because God is definitely with us! (Ps.37:28; Isa.41:10; Mat.28:20; Heb.13:5).
LET ME TRUST IN THEE
Great storms may come about, thunders may roll,
My path may be dark, as onward I stroll.
I do not ask, for all pleasant to be,
All I ask of you, let me trust in Thee.
Tho’ my life shall become a rugged way,
You shall be my power, on thru’ each day.
A smooth easy path I’ll not ask of you,
Just let me trust in Thee, in all that I do.
Trials and temptations will come; one by one,
We all have a race, that we have to run.
You promise grace to overcome each day,
Just let me trust in Thee, all of the way.
Your strength, O’ Lord, is made perfect in me,
For I am weak on my own, without Thee.
I know that with You, I can do it all,
So let me trust in Thee, lest I do fall.
Let me be content, whatever state I’m in,
Don’t let me doubt you; for that would be sin!
Please give me strength to go on life’s way,
Let me trust in Thee always, day after day.
By: His servant, Connie Kramer Nov.7, 1995 # 15
(Ps.16:8; 34:18; 145:18; Jer.23:23; Gen.28:15:
Ex.33:14; Is.43:2; Ac.17:27; Mt.28:20; 2 Co.12:9)
The Presence of the Lord with us is an amazing mystery! God, Almighty God Himself, the Creator of the Universe, dwells within each and every believer! (Rom.8:9). How extremely privileged and secure we are as children of God! Thank You Jesus!!!
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. [KJV]
WHEN I NEED HIM MOST
When I need Him most, He’s close by,
And He won’t ever, my call deny.
There’s not a reason to be afraid,
He’s there to grant me His divine aid.
When my trials are great, He is there,
I just need to go, to Him in prayer.
There to help, in the blink of an eye,
Offering assistance from on High.
He gives rest in days of adversity,
He can remove, our calamity.
A mighty God, so wondrous and true,
There to assist me; and also you.
When trouble surrounds me, on ev’ry side,
I must not forget, in Him to abide.
A moment away, when troubles abound,
God, to His children, is easily found.
I need Him most, so oft’ when I’m down,
He’s always willing; never a frown.
I can’t praise enough, our Creator,
Just He alone, does my soul adore.
By: Connie Kramer Sept.17, 1996 # 262
(Is.43:2; 50:8; Ex.33:14; Ac.17:27; Ps.94:12-13; 73:28;
145:18; Heb.7:19; 13:15-16; 1 P.2:9)
When do you need Him most in your life? I think we appreciate Him more when things are sorrowful and we have great pain, but I know I love to feel His awesome Presence every minute of every day! It is such a comfort to know He is near! He may not remove my problem, but He will walk with me through it. Thank You Jesus!!!
ONE STEP AT A TIME
He leads me gently, one step at a time,
‘Tis a blessing, no one can undermine.
He’s there to guide, as my path unfolds,
If I should stumble, my hand He will hold.
No one knows, what tomorrow will bring,
But if He is with me, His praises I’ll sing.
Only God knows the end, of all to come,
Walk close to Him, do not from Him roam.
We need not fret, ‘bout the troubles of life,
Trust in His goodness, you’ll have less strife.
His grace is sufficient, for me and you,
Believe and accept, it’s not much to do.
One step at a time, as each day unfurls,
Gently He leads, without any quarrel.
We are to walk by faith, and not by sight,
Trust in God, for He knows our ev’ry plight.
By: His servant, Connie Kramer Feb.9, 1996 # 120
(Ps.127:2; Mt.6:25, 34; Lu.10:40-41; 12:29; 1 P.5:7; Phil.4:6,11,19; 2 Co.5:7)
None of us know what tomorrow may bring; the truth of the matter is, we don’t know what will happen to us today! But one thing is sure; one thing you can count on, is God will never leave or forsake us, ever, IF we are His child!
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. [KJV]
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [KJV] . . . If you have faith in God and trust Him in all things, you can have tremendous contentment in your life! Claim this Promise today!
GOD HAS NEVER YET LIED, AND HE NEVER WILL!
Books You Should Read
A Loving God Would Not Send me to Hell. Would He?
???Death, THEN What???
God CANNOT Lie
God Controls His Greation
???Is There Really a God???
Judgment in the Great Tribulation
Judgment IS Coming!
Living With Eternity In Mind
Me? A Pharisee???
MONEY? Is It Your God?
Parables of Jesus
Second Coming of Jesus
Sin and Forgiveness
???What Does GOD have to Say???
???What Must I Do to be saved???
Why Do I Need Christ?
Why Do We Suffer?
Wicked People Described
For our other web sites:
Poetry . . . http://www.hisservantsministry.org . . . Poetry