WHY DO PEOPLE SUFFER?

Many people wonder why there is pain and suffering both physically and emotionally. Clearly the thoughts and ways of God are beyond mankind's capability to understand so as His people we accept His sovereignty, knowing in the end, all is for the Glory of God.

A believer whole-heartedly loves God, apart from whether there are blessings or disasters in their lives. A preferred way to understand circumstances of life is to see them as God-given opportunities to honour God while going through trials, ordeals and tribulations. What seems unfair and unjust in the world to mankind now, will be made right by God, for God is a God of justice.

Severe sudden calamity and distress is not a sign of disfavour with God, nor does blessing indicate God's approval. Judgement of others should not be made against those who suffer, nor should short sighted explanations of the cause of suffering or oppression.

Jesus contradicted his disciples on the issue of suffering for sin, sin was not the cause of suffering, but it was to show the Glory of God. Sin and suffering are not necessarily related but somtimes they are closely associated.
God will permit suffering for reasons and justification means, known only to Him.
Suffering is allowed for a higher purpose, often beyond human comprehension.

In God's Word He does mention protection, healing and long life as general principles, but they are not a validated law.
The causes of emotional suffering are a sense of injustice, frustration, loss, bereavement, childlessness, great fear, false guilt and spiritiual loss. Suffering is caused also by murder, violence, rioting, oppression, poverty, hunger, hard labour, danger and accidents, adultery, theft, lying, jealousy, hatred, old age.
Cases shown in the Bible of unjust suffering of righteous persons which was for Godly purposes and for the benefit of others, are shown in the life of Joseph, of Job, of David, of Jeremiah and of Paul. Each one of these people knew that their individual suffering was allowed by God for His Glory. The wrong conclusions given to God about suffering are sin, arguing with and blaming God, resentment towards God, envying the wicked or being terrified of God.

God does expect for sufferers to pray for healing and other believers to pray for them.

God is a God who heals, who binds up wounds, and has imparted gifts of miracles and of physical, emotional or mental healing through The Holy Spirit. God is concerned for all who suffer.

In prayer, the anointing of The Holy Spirit can flow into the lives of those who are depending upon God, that spiritual power and strength can help physical needs.

God states in His Word that He is the God who heals, but it is not always His first priority in every situation, as mankind limits His power and His Sovereignty in many areas.The effects of suffering result in hardening of the heart, bitterness, but also repentance and blessing.

Jesus died to stop much suffering amongst mankind.

The Bible offers several reasons for prolonged or difficult suffering:
-painful situations can produce character of strength
-test of a believer's faith for genuine devotion
-to purify unrefined qualities
-to give opportunity to help others, the needy and the poor

There may be no reason behind suffering except that God may allow it as He did in the case of Job, for He was proud when Job was faithful and loyal no matter what the circumstance, as was the case in The Book of Daniel when three young men where thrown into the furnace because of their faith, and God delivered them.

God wants our dependence upon Him to be real and unshakeable, and He will take the opportunity and use a time of misery for a test of loyalty. People ask is this fair? Is this just? Absolutely.

The Bible is realistic about suffering in the lives of believers and unbelievers throughout the world. Christians have Godí comfort and presence during these times of suffering. Encouragement and support by others is needed during these times of duress. The Bible does not teach that those who suffer are only those who have sinned against God or other fellow human beings. Human suffering is universal. Innocent people suffer under corrupt officials.
God's justice is a continuing theme through the Old Testament and the New Testament.

He, Himself however does not bring any calamity or distress upon those whom He lovingly created, and is in anguish Himself when those of His creation suffer. God suffers pain on account of the failures of His people. In the Bible God likens Himself to a parent who suffers grief because of children. He suffers because people sin. His plan of Salvation caused Him great suffering. He suffers rejection, He endured the spurning of His Son Jesus, whom He gave to the world.

The Bible reveals God's pain at the judgement to come on this world.

The worldly evils that are unfavourable, harmful, and corrupt, may seem unjust and people think that depravity goes unpunished, just as it may seem that good acts go unrewarded from God's point of view. One thing that can be counted on is the Justice in God's character! Christians are to take courage knowing their citizenship is in heaven, in the presence of God, as Jesus taught. God is angry with the wicked and there is His judgement of the wicked.

Jesus suffered persecution and emotional hurt from people and He suffered physically, and also warned His disciples of suffering,
trials and hardships for the sake of The Kingdom of God. Jesus suffered the hatred of the world, rejection of His own, the failure of His disciples and the hostility of Satan.

Protection from physical suffering is a general promise, however it is not a specific one. Being faithful to God, being upright and blameless does not guarantee freedom from trouble, pain, suffering or persecution, although spiritual safety is guaranteed. Martyrdom is a fact of the Christian life.

All of creation, humans and animals alike experience suffering because when sin and doubt entered the world, pain and sorrow, conflict and death followed. This was not done by God. Mankind brought this upon themselves. Since The Fall of mankind, there has been suffering in various ways.

God has promised to bring good out of all things for those who love Him and obey His commands. Believers are greatly encouraged in confidence and hope through the promises in the Word of God. He wants His people to be expectant of His help during such times. Confidence in God should be firmer and become more deeply rooted in the sovereignty of God during these times.

Some general rules of living apply with commonsense, if you drive a manmade vehicle carelessly the likelihood is that at some time someone is going to get hurt and suffer.

Sometimes God protects His people from physical hurt and illnesses and sometimes He sets limits on the boundaries of suffering. People should not question the sovereignty of God, but learn to trust Him in every situation.

During suffering people learn to depend upon God more and upon themselves less. God is with believers through their anguish, this He has promised. One characteristic that can be learned by others during such a time is patience, which allows for tolerance towards others. People are to recall the care of God and His faithfulness to promises.

Countries and nations put themselves in positions that are outside God's boundaries when they forsake His teachings and His Word which is spiritual adultery.
People step out of God's will by disbelief of His existence and not believing in His Son, Jesus, who came into the world to save them from future anguish, leaving themselves separated from His blessings.

God constantly shows deep compassion for the afflicted and the poor of society. Jesus Himself expressed this in word and in deed. These are opportunities for others who are less needy, to share the Love of God and share earthly wealth with those who need love, mercy and favoured care. This is a pattern that is of a divine plan.

God does not promise to remove life's sorrows and heartaches, but He did promise to see and be with us through them, and with the help of The Holy Spirit problems and troubles can mature us.

People do not understand suffering because they are only given part of the overall picture, but it is certain that God is not responsible for cruelty, evil or injustice. God is not the cause of pain and suffering for individuals or any violence or hatred throughout the world, it is contrary to the will of God. God helps His people through hardship.

At the end of this age when God does pour out His wrath it will be justified. God does promise the end of suffering in the next age to come in heaven. In God's presence there can be no thing that is unholy, His holiness will cleanse and purify all things including suffering.

Because of God's holiness, imperfection can not stand before Him.
His presence brings perfection.

SCRIPTURES Acts 28:16, John 16:1-4,33, 1 Corinthians 10:3, Gelatines 6:7, 2 Corinthians 4:4.
QUESTIONS 1] Why is there suffering in the world? 2] Name four Biblical reasons why suffering might be permitted? 3] Who controls the world system? 4] In times of suffering, what does God expect us to do?

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