Suffering and sickness in the Holy Bible – Part 5
“So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.” (Job 2:7-8)
The Suffering Of The Righteous:
Faithfulness to God does not guarantee believers’ freedom from trouble, pain and suffering in their lives (see Acts 28:16). In fact, Jesus taught that we are to expect it (John 16:1-4,33; see 2 Tim 3:12). The Bible provides numerous examples of godly people, who experienced significant amounts of suffering for a variety of reasons― e.g., Joseph, David, Job, Jeremiah and Paul.
Reasons Believers Suffer. There are various reasons why believers suffer.
(1) Believers experience suffering as an ongoing consequence of the fall of Adam and Eve. When sin entered the world, pain, sorrow, conflict and eventual death invaded the lives of all human beings (Gen 3:16-19). Paul affirms this: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). In fact, the whole created universe groans under sin’s effects and yearns for the time of a new heaven and a new earth (Rom 8:20-23; 2 Pet 3:10-13). Response: we must always cast ourselves on God’s grace, strength and comfort (cf. 1 Cor 10:13).
(2) Some believers suffer for the same reason that unbelievers do, i.e., as a consequence of their own actions. The principle that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7) applies in a general sense to everyone. If we drive our cars recklessly, we may get into serious accidents. If we are undisciplined in our eating habits, we are likely to have serious heath problems. God may use such suffering as a means of discipline, that we may achieve “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:3-11; see 12:5). Response: we must always act in wisdom and in accord with God’s Word, and we must avoid whatever will remove us from God’s protective care.
(3) Believers also suffer, at least in their inner selves, because they live in a sinful and corrupt world.
All around us are the effects of sin. We experience distress and anguish as we see the power that evil holds over so many lives (see Ezek 9:4; Acts 17:16; 2 Pet 2:8). Response: we must pray to God that He will demonstrate His victory over sin’s power.
(4) Believers suffer at the hands of the devil. (a) Scripture makes it clear that Satan, as “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4), controls this present evil age (see 1 Jn 5:19; cf. Gal 1:4; Heb 2:14).
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