Tragedy and Triumph

“All I can say in this affair is that, however mysterious the leadings of Providence are, I have no doubt but they are superintended by an infinitely wise God.”

~William Carey

One of the main objections to Christianity is the question of evil and suffering. If God is all powerful and good, then why does He allow us to suffer the way we often do? Many Christians make the mistake of trying to speak for God and they lay out all of the reasons why God must allow suffering in this world. However, many of these answers do not bring genuine comfort to someone this who is enduring intense pain.

The best answer that anyone can give to this question is the call to faith and trust in an infinitely wise God. A wise Christian once said this about our afflictions: “No affliction would trouble a child of God, if he knew God’s reasons for sending it.” God is not unaware of our suffering, and if He allows it then there is a good reason.

Let’s not make the same mistake that Job made by demanding an answer from God. His ways are often far above our human ability to comprehend. While God may give us an indication of why our suffering is allowed, many of our questions will have to wait until we get to heaven.

When we are in the midst of suffering it often helps to focus on the sufferings of Jesus. He is intimately acquainted with human pain. He endured the suffering and pain of a miserable death. Don’t forget his warning to the disciples:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, NIV).

He never promised that it would be easy. In fact, Jesus promised: “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).

Let’s not forget that eleven of the twelve disciples of Jesus died a martyrs death. The only one who died a natural death was boiled in a vat of oil and put in isolation on the island of Patmos. Stephen was stoned to death, and Paul was beheaded. Admitting to being a Christian in the early church was a death sentence. Think about this when we complain about our lives in the 21st Century.

Christianity is not for the one who wants to live a life of comfort and pleasure. Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).

The good news is that we are not alone in our suffering, and that God will never allow us to suffer without giving us the strength to endure.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We can take comfort in knowing that we will be rewarded for every ounce of suffering that we endure in this lifetime. The pain of this life is temporary, but the eternal bliss of life in heaven is forever.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

The next time we are tempted to question the wisdom of God for allowing us to suffer, let us remember that if God allows us to suffer than He is able to take our tribulation and turn it into a blessed triumph for eternity.

~Stephen Beagles

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