Suffering and sickness in the Holy Bible – Part 4
One can suffer because of his position or his disposition. Peter brings this truth out in his first epistle: “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (1Pet 2:18,19).
Suffering is often a two-sided coin. On the one side, suffering may be viewed as coming from God to bring out the best in us. See Genesis 22:1,2, 15-18; Hebrews 11:17. On the other side, Satan attempts to use the same temptation and suffering to bring out the worst in us. Finally, the believer can react to suffering in three different ways: (a) Despise it, that is, treat it too lightly, as did Esau his birthright (Heb 12:5,16); (b) Faint under it, that is, treat it too seriously (Heb 12:5); (c) Be exercised by it, that is, receive instruction from it. This is the reaction desired by God. (Heb 12:11-13)
During this time, both Peter and Paul advise us to commit our pain and suffering to God, realising He is faithful to work out all things for our good and God’s glory (Rom 8:28; 1 Pet 4:19). James tells us to count it all joy, when we experience these dark hours (James 1:2)
Examples of Suffering—in the Word of God, there are four great examples of believers suffering for the sake of righteousness. There are: Joseph, Job, Jeremiah, and Paul.
The suffering of Joseph: he was hated by his brothers (Gen 37:4,5,8); he was sold into slavery (Gen 37:28); he was severely tempted (Gen 39:7); and he was imprisoned (Gen 39:20)
The suffering of Job: his oxen and donkeys were stolen and his farmhands killed (Job 1:14,15); his sheep and herdsmen were burned by a fire (Job 1:16); his camels were stolen and his servants killed (Job 1:17); his sons and daughters died in a windstorm (Job 1:18,19); and he was struck with boils (Job 2:7) The sufferings of Jeremiah: he was persecuted by his own family (Jer 12:6); he was plotted against by his own hometown (Jer 11:11-23); he was rejected and ridiculed by his religious peers (Jer 20:1-3, 7-9); and he was arrested, beaten, and accused of treason (Jer 37:11-16)
The sufferings of Paul: he was plotted against (Acts 9:23, 29; 20:3; 21:30; 23:10,12; 25:3); was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19); was subjected to satanic pressure (1 Thes 2:18); was beaten and jailed at Philippi (Acts 16:19-24); was ridiculed (Acts 17:16-18; 26:24); was falsely accused (Acts 21:21,28; 24:5-9); endured a number of violent storms at sea (2Cor 11:25; Acts 27:14-20); was bitten by a serpent (Acts 28:3,4); and he was forsaken by all (2 Tim 4:10,16)
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