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Suffering and sickness in the Holy Bible – Part 2

By Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide
07 November 2021   |   2:54 am
A second reason is that God either sends or allows suffering to teach, discipline, and mature us. Suffering reminds us of our finitude and teaches us to trust patiently in God

Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide

Suffering Cont.

A second reason is that God either sends or allows suffering to teach, discipline, and mature us. Suffering reminds us of our finitude and teaches us to trust patiently in God (Judg. 2:21-3:6; Job 1:9-12; Ps 66:10; Mal 3:3; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:28; 1 Pet. 5:10; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 12:7-10). God disciplines those He loves. His discipline is a sign of love, rather than wrath (Ps. 94:12; Prov 3:11-12; 1 Cor. 11: 32; Heb.12:3- 13). Suffering should not be received with sadness or defeat, but with rejoicing, because it leads to maturity and godly character (James 1:2-12; 1 Pet. 1:6-9).

Suffering of Believers. A goal of human existence is not to avoid suffering but become godly. Suffering can be redemptive or vicarious (Hos. 1:1-3:5; Isa. 53:1-12; 2 Cor. 1:3-12; 1 Pet. 3:18). Joseph realised his suffering led to blessing his people. So, although suffering is not good in and of itself, it may lead to the greater good (Gen. 50:15-21; Rom. 8:28). Christ exemplified vicarious suffering in the crucifixion (Matt. 16:21; Luke 24:44-48; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Heb. 2:9-10; 9:24-28). Believers may participate in His suffering (Matt. 5:11-12; Mark 13:7-9; Luke 9:22-26; Acts 5:38-41; Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 1:5-11; 4:7-18; Phil. 1:19-29; 3:8-11; 1 Thess. 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 4:12-14).

Another question is: “Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?” The unrighteous do sometimes prosper, and the righteous sometimes suffer (Ps. 73:2-12; Jer 12:1-4; Mal. 3:13-15). Job was a righteous man, but he suffered a great disaster. Yet, through all his suffering, Job continued to serve God (Job 1:21). At a national level, Habakkuk asks why God allows an unrighteous nation to defeat a more righteous nation (Hab. 1:12-13). When David realised the eternal consequences of unrighteousness, he reaffirmed the goodness and justice of God (Ps. 73: 1-28).

Believers should not suffer with resignation but with hope (Pss. 39:7-13; 73:15-28; 1 Cor. 15:57-58; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; 1 Pet. 5:8-11). Through hope in the resurrection, Christians can endure victoriously, not in defeat or despair (John 16:33; Rom. 5: 1-6; 8: 17-39). The promises and presence of God turn the sufferer toward the future, and with confidence, God will redeem even the worst suffering. The ultimate solution to suffering comes in heaven (Rev. 21:4-5). Even amid suffering, Christians experience God’s care. He hears and answers prayers for strength in suffering (Ps 23:1-6; 66:13-20; 102:1-17; Mark 11:22-24; Heb 4:14-16). However painful suffering is, it is a shadow compared to the glory yet to come (Rom 8:17-18)
Purpose of suffering

Study the Book of Job
The book of Job wrestles with the age-old question: “If God is just and loving, why does He permit a perfect and upright man like Job (1:1,8) to suffer intensely?” In struggling with this issue, the author reveals the following truths. (1) Mobile: +234 803 344 6614; +234 808 123 7987

As an opponent of God, Satan received permission to test the genuineness of the faith of a righteous man by afflicting him, but God’s grace triumphed over suffering because Job by faith remained steadfast and immovable, even when there appeared to be no physical or temporal benefit in his staying committed to God. (2) God is moved by considerations too vast for the human mind to fully comprehend (37:5); because we do not see with the breadth and vision of the Almighty, we need God’s gracious self-disclosure. (3) The real foundation of faith lies not in God’s blessings, in personal circumstances or in intellectual answers, but in a revelation of God Himself. Mobile: +234 803 344 6614; +234 808 123 7987