Why So Much Suffering
by Kim Larsen
James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
We don’t often think of suffering as a trial of faith, or do we? We blame sickness or disease on not living right or eating too much of the wrong things, bad habits etc…. You’re not wrong, but….. God allows these things for a greater purpose.
Let’s take a look at our friend Job. The oldest book of the Bible gives us the very answer to our most common question.
Job 1:6-8, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So, Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth. A blame less and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
And you know the rest of the story, right? God allows Satan to test Job by having access to him. He then loses his family to natural disasters, he loses his belongings and then also his health. He endures so much pain that he would welcome death. The rest of the book of Job is the agony and lamentation of Job after his friends and his wife try to help him by setting him straight on just why they think that he is suffering. This entire discourse is about Satan attacking Job’s character. According to his faith, so it was unto Job. “When He hath tried me,” he said, “I shall come forth as gold.” So it came to pass. By his patient endurance Job vindicated his own character, and thus the character of Him whose representative he was.
Our sufferings probably are not like Job’s but our faith is not like Job’s either. There are people who suffer great loss and pain, and I do not wish to discount that. But there is a greater thing at work here. Through suffering and trials, we become changed. Peter tells us that we will be exceedingly glad when Christ comes that we have had the experience of enduring for Him. By each event in our life we are strengthened in faith and gain more strength of faith. With each victory we also are given fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. You can’t order those from Amazon. They come from enduring trials. Now, if you’re like me…. at this point you’re beating yourself up from not being strong enough to pass the test most recently taken. Don’t lose heart. Colossians 1:11 tells us that we are strengthened with all might according to Christ’s glorious power! He wants us to succeed, so He gives us the strength to persevere, we just need to accept it! Isn’t it just crazy to have access to such a gift and not reach out and take it? We just have to be mindful when we are in the midst of difficulty to stop and look up and ask for help. He will give you exactly what is needed to persevere and gain victory!