Saturday, February 17, 2024

Why do we suffer?


1 Peter 5 NKJV

8 ¶  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

There seems to be this brotherhood of sufferers who, just like their leader, Jesus Christ the one and only Son of Almighty God, are subject to quite a bit of suffering in this world. It’s almost like we are being trained to suffer and taught how to endure it so as to not allow the pain or pressures of this life to make us quit.

In one of my early morning prayer times last week I earnestly asked God to help me understand why born-again Believers in Jesus Christ suffer. In talking with God, which hopefully we are all doing more of this year, I told God I would accept any answer He gave me without being judgmental or complaintive. I wanted to go on record with Him again concerning my reverence and respect for His wisdom. It far exceeds my human knowledge and considerations. He knows what He is doing. I trust Him completely.

After I asked God to help me understand why Born-Again Believers suffer and to whose benefit it was, I sat back and began going over scriptures I remembered from the New Testament concerning suffering. Several came to mind, and so I looked them up and read them. (2 Corinthians 15; Romans 8; 2 Timothy; Philippians 3; 1 Peter – there are like 15 just in 1 Peter.)

I considered how Jesus suffered and why He suffered. As I meditated on the scriptures in a quiet spiritual time with an open mind before God, He in turn opened the eyes of my understanding and I saw it. (Ephesians 1:18)

This world and every person born on earth is on a collision course with death and destruction. (2 Peter 3:1-15; Revelation 21:1)

We are riding on a ship destined to sink and kill everyone on board.

Our only hope is to be saved beyond this life. God sent His only begotten Son to open a door and secure our passage into eternal life, safe from the harm we are subject to without Him. (Revelation 20:12-15)

The earth has been infiltrated and sabotaged by an evil spirit. Every system was corrupted and remains compromised. This world is winding down and will one day no longer be able to sustain life. (Revelation 20:11)

While we are on this earth speeding towards destruction, we are subject to the evils, hardships, and sufferings of the day. The earth is passing through sinful space and the inhabitants are subject to pain, sickness, poverty, betrayal, and death. The only thing worse than living in this world is to leave here without Jesus and the transformation He offers. You must be born again to be able to enter into God’s eternal glory. (John 3:5-7)

A man cannot walk into God’s glory any more than you can walk into the glory of the sun. It will burn you up unless you are made of the same substance. You must be born of the Spirit of God to enter His glory.

We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10) All who do not possess the garment of salvation and robe of righteousness will not be able to remain in God’s presence. All whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Matthew 22:11-14; Revelation 20:15)

Take a look outside. The beauty of a bright sun-filled spring day can be turned into chaos in one brief moment. From public protests to war, from overcrowded jails to overcrowded hospitals, from empty churches to empty hearts, from the homeless to the helpless, from disruption to corruption, from crime to cancer, suffering is everywhere and yet there is hope. 

God created this world as the perfect haven of rest for His children. He provided them with every need and gave them instructions to follow in order to protect them from ever experiencing sin, sickness, poverty, or death. The balance of life was blessings, and all was well in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 1&2)

God expected Adam and Eve to obey Him despite the temptation to do otherwise. He trusted them and gave them authority to rule over everything He created on the earth. They, in and of themselves, did not prove trustworthy.

When tempted with pride and owning the right to choose, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God (Genesis 3). This disruption to God’s plan opened a door to darkness and they invited an evil spirit to rule and reign over the earth God had given them. This evil spirit, the devil, sowed seeds of death and destruction in the lives of men and thus began his reign of darkness and chaos. (Ephesians 2:2)

No longer the safe-haven God intended, the earth began to spin out of control. Once protected by the divine hand of God, plans now had to be made to cover those who would be born to die on this planet and to secure their souls from eternal destruction once they left the confines of their mortal bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

Temporary measures were put into place by God to cover His Children from the evil which was growing around them. With death and destruction looming over every soul, God could not allow to leave only temporary measures to remain in place. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believed in Him might not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

All who call upon the name of Jesus shall be saved. But How shall anyone know this unless they are told? How can anyone be rescued unless someone is sent to rescue them? (Romans 10:13-15)

The evil forces of darkness, the same darkness that first deceived man in the Garden, continue their attempts to capture the minds and souls of men and women each day. We must not allow the deception to rule over the lives of those who still need to be rescued. God works with us.

We have been saved, called, chosen, equipped, and sent to seek and to save the lost and to raise up more team members and our replacements (Matthew 28:18-20). God has given us angels and abilities to help us.

As long as we are in this world of suffering, we will experience some suffering along with those we are sent to rescue. We have been given special protection and requested assistance. However, we cannot allow our temporary sufferings or fear thereof to keep us from doing our job.

Like a fireman running into a burning building looking for those in need. We do not claim the fireman’s life is worth less than the child or the elderly they are seeking to save. We understand the hardships, but we also believe in the cause.

Our ship is sinking, and we have an immovable life vest. The only reason to remain aboard is to help others get into the lifeboats. We may experience some of the temporary discomforts others suffer around us, like as did our Lord. But, it is worth every effort to save the lost. 

Romans 8:18  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.

Why do we suffer? Because we live in a suffering world. A world headed for destruction. We are on a collision course with death.

1 Peter 5 NKJV

10 ¶  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

11  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

My Take Aways from today:

1.  Don’t expect to be treated better than Jesus.

2.  Never allow your own pain to make you doubt or quit.

3.  Find and train your replacement.

4.  Your victory is in your faith … trust God!

a.   1 John 5:4-5 – This is the victory …

b.   Be of good cheer! (John 16:33)