With the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the troubles we have encountered, we may wonder why God allows suffering in a world He has created in Genesis 1 and pronounced as good. Isn’t God sovereign, wise, and loving enough to stop all the sufferings in our world and to do so now? Perhaps, we will find the answer if we continue reading through the whole Bible.
In Genesis 1, God brought order out of chaos, and light in darkness. In Genesis 2, God brought life in Adam out from the dust. In Genesis 6 to 9, out of the flood, God saved Noah and his family. In Exodus, out from Egypt and the Red Sea, God formed Israel into a nation. Into the New Testament, out from the greatest evil in the suffering and death of His Son, God brings forth the church. From the bad, God always brings out the good.
Hence James 1:2 calls believers to trust God, to count it all joy when we meet various trials. God uses suffering to discipline and purify our hearts from sin, to wean us from this world and its passing pleasures. Suffering makes us grateful for the little things in life. Suffering makes us know and love God more. We pray and search out His promises in suffering. Suffering reminds us to store up treasures in heaven. Suffering equips us to comfort others with the comfort we have received from God and His people. Suffering perfects and prepares us for the glory to come. Our faith during suffering, therefore, bears witness before a watching world to Christ’s faithfulness.
Charles Spurgeon in his sermon “Beloved, and Yet Afflicted” says,
If Jesus loves you, and you are sick, let all the world see how you glorify God in your sickness. Let friends and nurses see how the beloved of the Lord are cheered and comforted by him. Let your holy resignation astonish them, and set them admiring your Beloved, who is so gracious to you that he makes you happy in pain, and joyful at the gates of the grave. If your religion is worth anything it ought to support you now, and it will compel unbelievers to see that he whom the Lord loves is in better case when he is sick than the ungodly when full of health and vigour.
So by His grace, may we through our sufferings, declare the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.