Is Suffering Part of the Christian’s Life?
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering,
as though something strange were happening to you.
1 PETER 4:12
I am a planner and I don’t like surprises. So when Dave and I were taken by surprise by our season of suffering, we felt blindsided. Our faith was challenged and it sent us reeling spiritually.
To complicate matters worse, many well-meaning Christians tried to encourage us by telling us that it was not God’s Will for Christians to suffer. I remember thinking then why are we suffering – are we not truly Christians?
Even though I had solid Bible teaching and had learned a lot on my journey of faith, I had not addressed the issue of suffering and the Christian. So I turned to the Word of God to see what God had to say. And I found these encouraging words of Jesus –
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. JOHN 16:33 (NLT)
I found so much hope and promise in this scripture. Even though I did not like learning that Christians will have trials and sorrows on this earth (no suffer-free passes for Christians), I did like being warned in advance so I would be prepared somewhat when they did come.
Jesus was warning his disciples (and us) that there would be trials ahead so they (we) would not be taken by surprise as if something strange were happening to them (us). He was preparing us for what was ahead.
Secondly, by being forewarned and trusting Jesus to lead us through, we can experience peace in the midst of our trials. We are assured by Jesus to not lose heart because He has overcome the world.
I leave you with the following verse to reflect on and rejoice in its promise. He will overcome!
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
On the journey with you,