Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

4 Reasons Why Christians Suffer

In my previous post, I pointed to the sovereignty and providence of God in the believer’s suffering and allowed the Bible speak to that reality. The issue of suffering is multi-dimensional; from a spiritual, practical and emotional perspective.

I don’t intend to make light of our sufferings or pain. But if we allow the Bible guide us, we will stay rooted in a God-centric worldview.

That’s my goal; to help us develop a view of God’s providence that keeps us focused on the One who does all things according to the counsel of His will Ephesians 1:11.

Why God doesn’t give us a pass

But you may ask “Why do Christians suffer, if God is sovereign over our suffering? Couldn’t He simply give us a pass to a pain-free life on earth?”

It’s not that simple. Firstly, we are sinners, living in a world of sin. Therefore, we cannot be immune from the effects of man’s sinful nature (P.S. thank God for saving grace!).

Secondly, God is just and defines ultimate good. It will be unjust on God’s part to waive suffering past us when He has determined that the experiences produce ultimate good in us for His glory. He has a purpose, even if we don’t see it.

Thirdly, we are not as ‘good’ as we think we are. We are not as humble as we think we are. We are not as broken as we think we are. One of God’s tools to effect a deeper reformation in us is through suffering.

So why do Christians suffer? Here are four reasons (among others):

To deepen our faith and dependence on God

God ordains our suffering as a means of grace, to strengthen our faith and deepen our dependence on Him. Suffering enables us learn to fully put our hope in God alone and nothing else.

We often learn this the hard way unfortunately if we fail to listen to the Holy Spirit or follow biblical instructions. When we suffer, we need to discern that God may be at work in us.

The most powerful work of suffering is inward — God is always seeking to do something IN us first BEFORE through or for us — 4 Reasons Why Christians Suffer Click To Tweet

In Romans 5:3-4, scripture affirms that suffering produces perseverance, character and hope, all to the end that we become more like Christ.

To showcase His divine providence

God is determined to showcase the beauty of His power and providence in us through suffering. In our weakness, His strength shines much brighter.

He does not always deliver us from the fire. Sometimes God may choose that the path to bring Him glory in our lives is for us to go through the fire Daniel 3:1-30.

But even in death, heaven is MUCH MORE glorious. That’s why Paul refers to our harsh experiences in life as ‘light afflictions’, working for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

To spread the gospel

Christian suffering has done more through history to bring about a great harvest of committed disciples of Jesus Christ than the prosperity gospel agenda can ever dream of.

Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit but He often uses our testimonies as instruments to move men to believe.

Our personal testimonies matter and if all we have to share is no different to the mundane, non-spiritual experience of the man next door and is void of the power of the Holy Ghost, why would anyone be compelled to believe the gospel?

When the apostles lived problem-free, the gospel concentrated in Jerusalem. When persecution came, the gospel spread to other cities and regions Acts 8:4.

Christian suffering has never stopped the gospel; it always propels its reach and impact — 4 Reasons Why Christians Suffer Click To Tweet

To make Christ supreme above all earthly comfort

God ordains we experience the harsh realities of life to remind us that in this world, we have no continuing city but seek one to come Hebrews 13:14.

Suffering should intensify our hunger and longing for heaven, reminding us that Christ is far more superior above all else. That’s why I love John Piper‘s creed (if I can call it that):

God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.

Only a life that exalts Christ as supreme above all earthly comfort can truly embrace the truth in those words. No health and wealth prosperity gospel can anchor your soul when trouble hits only Jesus can and does.

And He’s supremely more valuable, even ‘when life happens to us’.

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Photo by Ryan Cheng on Unsplash.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

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