Monday, February 28, 2011
People are sick and some are dying. Some need various kinds of surgery, others need various medications. Where does suffering come from? Some suffering comes because of other people’s sin. Some comes because of our own sin. Some suffering comes simply because we live in a sinful world. Someone once said that we begin to die as soon as we are born.
Sometimes suffering can be alleviated by others ceasing to sin. Some suffering stops when we stop sinning. Sometimes nothing happens at all when the sin ceases. Sometimes the consequences of sin are irreversible. And suffering continues.
What we know, however, is that no suffering is pointless. God tells us that though we may not always know why suffering is in the world, we do know that it happens for a reason. Paul told us that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Rom 5:3-4). And James told us that suffering produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (Jam 1:3-4). Over all of this Paul told us that everything in our lives is there because God loves us and wants us to be conformed to the image of his son (Rom. 8).
Since this is true what kind of attitude should we have in the midst of suffering? James said that these kinds of situations are really a testing of our faith. God wants to prove us to help us remember that it is Jesus we trust in for our lives and our situations. James tells us to consider it all joy when we our faith is tested in this way. Paul, writing from prison, says, “Rejoice always, Again, I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).