July 8, 2019

Enough Already!!! 

By: Larry Shaffer

Job 

Enough Already!!! 

Lesson 2 

Suffering. WHY! WHY! WHY! C.S. Lewis once called it ‘the problem of pain.’ It is a perplexing dilemma. Why do Christians suffer? 

When you are in the midst of suffering, rational thinking and spiritual reflection can be difficult. That is why it is healthy to consider the topic of suffering now, while you are in a mode to learn and understand. Then, when suffering hits, you will have some mental and emotional tools to draw upon. Tools that the Master has given us during times of pain. 

Why do Christian suffer? We know the general answer; sin. But let’s be more specific. Let’s ask in a personal and particular manner. You see, in the Bible, not all suffering is the same and for the same purpose. Therefore, when you encounter suffering, difficulties and trials, and after you have screamed ‘enough already,’ prayerfully ask a few questions: 

  1. What is the source of this pain? What action to should I take? What action should I not take? Where do I find hope to endure? 
  2. What can I learn? God, what are you teaching me? 

Addressing the first point, what are the different reasons and sources of Christian suffering? To get to the heart of it, why do you go through pain and suffering? Here’s several reasons for you to consider: 

  • The consequences of our own personal sin and/or the sin of those close to usThis is the culmination of bad decisions.  
  • Hatred toward God within our society and hostility toward ChristiansWe sometimes suffer because we are ‘guilty by association.’ 
  • To refine us and strengthen us. We have two choices when we encounter trials: allow them to overtake us or allow them to fortify us. James 1.2-4 
  • To humble us and subdue our sin nature. God causes/allows trials in order rid us of pride, arrogance and self-dependence.  
  • In order for God to accomplish His purposes. God sometimes allows evil and then uses it to bring about good.  
  • To be an encouragement to other Christians. A result of our suffering should be our ability to now comfort others.  
  • To manifest the image of Jesus. In AD197, Tertullian wrote, ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’ 

I will expand on these sources of trials and suffering next time. But for today, prayerfully determine that you will respond to suffering with soul-searching reflection rather than hopeless despair. There is a purpose. To have an understanding of what the Bible teaches about the sources of suffering will help and equip you to not only cope, but to grow, to give hope and to remember the power of God. 

Purpose and Hope

There is a purpose and there is hope! Note to self: when suffering, remember Job 42. The Lord restored the fortunes of Job…The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…verse 1-12, 

Father of comfort, we ask you to fill us to overflowing with faith and trust when we are in the midst of suffering. When we are in pain, we often forget about Your purposes and Your promises and focus on ourselves. Lift our heads, dry our tears, fill our hearts and give is in full measure, hope and faith. We can’t do it alone. We need thee every hour; every hour, we need thee. Amen!