“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”-Romans 8:18
The idea of suffering is a difficult subject to address in the lives of those enduring difficult situations. It is a common occurrence, it seems, when people are suffering, whether it’s a physical ailment, medical situations, opposition from others, or suffering anguish over the loss of a loved one, they begin to question the goodness of God. They lift their eyes to heaven asking, “Why? Why am I going through this?” Though it is natural to wonder why you are enduring this or that, as a believer, you must guard against becoming bitter.
Growing bitter toward the Lord is tempting when the circumstances are dire; however, the Scriptures give us some comforting truths to guard our mind and emotions from leading us astray. We all remember the account of Job, right? Satan was allowed to test Job and in so doing, Job lost his children, his livestock, many of his servants, and his health. He makes an astounding statement in Job 23:14: “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such decrees are with Him.” What? Did God appointed Job’s trial? The Lord, in fact, did. This is the same truth taught in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul tells his Philippian audience who, themselves, are enduring trials, “For to you, it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29). The Lord was in control of the trials that the Philippians were enduring, just as He was with Job.
The New Testament has much to say of how believers ought to react to trials and suffering. The Apostle Peter states, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Pet 4:12). In addition to Peter’s statement, James tells his readers, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (Jm 1:2). The New Testament is consistent that trials and suffering are for the testing of your faith. It is in these difficult times that we do what Christ Himself had done in His hour of suffering. The Scriptures says that Jesus “kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet 2:23). As we rely on the Lord to get us through, our faith in Him increases even more because we are growing closer to Him in those times.
Be comforted, Beloved, that our God is the sovereign One who is in control of all things, and we can have confidence in Him. Though we do not understand why we are enduring difficult situations, we can know that those situations are not meaningless, but are given for the testing of our faith. Knowing these truths, we can say with the Apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice” (Phil 4:4). Your times of suffering can either make you bitter or better.
Joshua Banks is senior pastor and founder of Shepherd’s Rock Bible
Church in Kingsport, TN. He holds a Bachelors degree in Ministry from
Luther Rice University, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and a
Master of Divinity both from Liberty University. Joshua and his wife
Amanda, along with their 5 children, reside in Gate City, VA.