Some where in our Christian walk a deep false doctrine or Satanic lie has surfaced which says that our lives should be healthy, wealthy and free of all pain, suffering, troubles and trials.
And though many would say they don’t agree with prosperity preaching, or the doctrine of prosperity, many times the sentiments often come through in our speech, and even though our complaining and even in our prayers.
It often comes in the question of why?
Why is this happening to me, to my husband or to my family or loved ones?
What am I doing wrong? What is my family doing wrong?
Or it comes through Jobs comforters who say you must have sinned for this to be happening in your life, there must be some pride or secret fault… when the truth is..you may have done nothing wrong…
It is Just Life!
How often have you heard the phrase, “God is not Santa Clause” granting our every wish and whim?
But many want that life, a life free of all issues, a life free from all financial difficulties, a life free from illness or disease, a life free from conflict and discouragement… the problem with that type of thinking is that it is just not reality.
Life has many sides to it, there are days and moments of great joy, happiness, victory but there are also days and moments of intense sorrow, discouragement, and emotional, physical and spiritual pain.
Life can be a tremendous teacher if we work with the lessons being taught, but if we constantly rebel against those lessons…or fight the process and in reality fight the Lord who is trying to show us how to live in and through a difficult situation, the result will be great discouragement and can even lead to depression and hopelessness in a persons life if they don’t get a handle on it.
When salvation occurs in a believers life.. the situations in that persons life may or may not change, the circumstances may or may not change, the hardships may or may not change.
The Lord did not promise an easy, carefree life, so what then are the advantages of being a Christian… why walk the Christian path as opposed to all others, why not just eat, drink and be merry? Why put up with pain, sorrow or grief?
The answer is a simple one…but before we explore that… lets first look at some scriptures about life to get a better understanding of what life is, who suffers and who doesn’t and what is biblical suffering.
1) WHAT IS SUFFERING
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (p. pr. & vb. n.) of Suffer.
2. (n.) The bearing of pain, inconvenience, or loss; pain endured; distress, loss, or injury incurred; as, sufferings by pain or sorrow; sufferings by want or by wrongs.
3. (a.) Being in pain or grief; having loss, injury, distress, etc.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
suf’-er-ing: A great variety of Hebrew and Greek expressions, too large to be here enumerated, have been translated by “suffering” and other forms derived from the same verb. The most obvious meanings of the word are the following:
(1) The commonest meaning perhaps in the English Versions of the Bible is “to permit,” “to allow,” “to give leave to”: “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away” (Mark 10:4).
(2) “To experience,” “to go through,” “to endure”:
“I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).
A woman “had suffered many things of many physicians” (Mark 5:26).
Other common phrases are
“to suffer affliction” (1 Thessalonians 3:4 Hebrews 11:25, the Revised Version (British and American)
“to suffer hardship” (2 Timothy 2:9),
“to suffer adversity” (Hebrews 13:3 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American)
“to be ill-treated”, “to suffer dishonor” (the King James Version “shame,” Acts 5:41),
“to suffer violence,” (Matthew 11:12),
“to suffer wrong” (Acts 7:24),
“to suffer terror” (Psalm 88:15),
“to suffer shipwreck” (2 Corinthians 11:25),
“to suffer hunger” (Psalm 34:10 Proverbs 19:15),
“to suffer thirst” (Job 24:11).
(3) “To put up with,” “to tolerate”: the King James Version, “For ye suffer fools gladly (the Revised Version (British and American) “ye bear with the foolish gladly”), seeing ye yourselves are wise” (2 Corinthians 11:1, 9).
(4) “To undergo punishment”: “Think ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they have suffered these things?” (Luke 13:2).
(5) “To sustain loss”:
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss” (1 Corinthians 3:15; also Philippians 3:8).
(6) “To suffer death.” Here the clearest references are to the suffering or passion of Christ, which indeed includes the enduring of untold hardships and affliction, all of which culminate in His vicarious death for man (Matthew 16:21 Mark 8:31; Mark 9:12 Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25; Luke 22:15; Luke 24:26, 46 Acts 3:18; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:23 1 Peter 3:18).
2) Who Suffers?
Suffering belongs to the discipline of all Christ’s followers (Romans 8:17 2 Corinthians 1:7 Galatians 3:4 Philippians 3:10 1 Thessalonians 2:2 2 Thessalonians 1:5 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 3:12 James 5:10 1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 3:14, 17; 4:1, 13, 16; 5:10).
Such suffering is called a suffering for God’s or Christ’s sake (Jeremiah 15:15 Acts 9:16 Philippians 1:29 2 Timothy 1:12).
This fellowship in suffering unites us with the saints of God in all times (James 5:10), and is indeed a fellowship with the Lord Himself (Philippians 3:10), who uses this discipline to mold us more and more according to His character.
So lets look at some scriptures-
- Why there is illness and sickness…
Romans 8: 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba,[e] Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
From Suffering to Glory
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of [f]corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [g]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified
Since the body is not redeemed at this time, sickness, illness and death are part of life.
Not everyone will be healed, not everyone will be healthy and if the Lord tarries, we will all die.
The sooner we accept this truth the easier we can endure suffering within the body.
There are two sides to this topic though , one side says …everyone is healed therefore no one in the church gets sick, this isn’t true as we see in the in the scriptures Timothy, Paul and others suffered physical ailments.
The other side says that healings were only during the time of Christ and the Apostles and there is no healing or those raised from the dead today, again this is also wrong, as we have many testimonies in the church of physical, emotional and spiritual healings as well as those who have been raised from the dead.
Balance is the key… when we are ill, take care of the body, soul and spirit, and seek the Lord while praying and believing for a healing, if the Lord reveals you won’t be healed or you have to wait for your healing then learn how through the Spirit to endure, and how to endure with rejoicing!
If the Lord reveals you are to be healed then call for the elders of the church, have them anoint you with oil, accept and receive the healing and rejoice.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery. Paul entered in to him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
That word trial refers to many things,
Strong’s Greek 3986:From peirazo; a putting to proof (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity.
14 If you are [e]reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. [f]On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a [g]busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this [h]matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
“If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
So from this we can conclude, suffering happens to all, and there are many types of suffering, physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, circumstances, etc. and most importantly we can know that suffering has a purpose.
So suffering is not something that we need fear… or think we have done something wrong or we will always have to endure… it is a season and a time of gaining knowledge, of learning about the nature and loving kindness of the Lord and can even be a time of great joy…
If you are sick in pain or even dying – rejoice!
If you are poor, or in slavery or are having financial difficulties – rejoice!
If you are suffering from shame, emotional depression or mental health issues – rejoice!
If you are suffering from spiritual pain, sorrow or fighting spiritual oppression and death- rejoice!
Our circumstances should never affect our worship, our praise, our prayers or our relationship with Christ and the revival he has promised because the answer to all suffering sorrow, the answer to financial trials, to physical trials to temptations by Satan to give up … the answer to enduring with joy all trials and troubles, the reason we walk the Christian path is because of this one eternal and powerful truth… we don’t walk alone…
For he said…
Deut 31;6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
And again in the New testament…
Heb.13:5 Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I WILL NEVER [under any circumstances] DESERT YOU [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], NOR WILL I FORSAKE or LET YOU DOWN or RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU [assuredly not]!”
We have a God who deeply loves us, who cares about everything we go through who is touched by your tears and pain, who will never walk away for leave you, so rejoice. Dance, shout sing, prophecy, let the fruits of the Spirit shine forth.
Come out of that grave… come out of that grave of self pity, of depression, of rebellion and rejoice…for Paul said
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your [b]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your[c] care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to [d]be abased, and I know how to [e]abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through [f]Christ who strengthens me.