Pain and Suffering – Punishment or Privilege?

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Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of human life. It may not seem like it, but it happens to everyone. It could be that you lost a loved one or are dealing with health issues. It may even be something not as serious as death or illness but every bit as devastating for you.

For Christians, the main reason why it hits so hard is the fact that we know the God we serve and His power and character. He sees all, knows all, and can do all. So how hard could it be for Him to just tweak things a little to make life easier for you, right?

It’s not that easy. Let’s take a look at what God Himself says about pain and suffering and how it may actually, ironically, be for your own good.

What the Bible says about pain and suffering

It is not a punishment

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just…

Deuteronomy 32:4

Very often when we go through pain as Christians, the first thing that comes to mind is that we are being punished. Maybe I lost my job because of that one time I had an error in judgment. Maybe my family is suffering because I strayed from the path.

That is not how it works as the Lord is the furthest thing from vindictive. He gives grace and second chances without hesitation. So if you are going through something bad it is not likely that you are actually being punished.

It is a privilege

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

This may sound a little insane as a concept, but it is actually true. This does not mean that suffering is all fun and games and we’re just not seeing it. It hurts, and that pain is valid.

However, with a bit of a different perspective, you will realize it is a sort of privilege. You get to learn and grow in ways you never would have if you had remained in a safe, little bubble.

It is a chance to grow closer to God

For the more, we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you.

2 Corinthians 1:5

There are countless examples in the Bible where pain and suffering drew people closer to God.

There was the story of David’s dying son. There was Hannah’s struggle with fertility. Jesus Himself suffered and at His worst, He was closest to God.

 So take your bad experiences as motivation to work on your relationship with God.

It will not last

… You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

John 16:20

 Nothing is forever, not the good times, and definitely not the bad. So hang in there for there is an end coming. Just do your best to get closer to God for some peace and comfort as you wait.

The power of faith in suffering

Pain and suffering are not fun to go through. But with this new perspective, you should be able to spot the silver lining. 

So hold on to your faith and let God take care of everything. You may not see it now but there is no doubt that your life is unfolding as it should according to God’s will.

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We are not paid for the work we do; the money is not our motivation and doesn't drive us in our endeavours working with (and for) the poor from the edges of our society. But of course, without financial resources, we could not implement our goals and activities.

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