When faced with suffering many people ask why those who suffer, be it physical or emotional pain, do not turn away from God. Why do they continually call out to God for healing and help when their pleas seemingly go unanswered?
It’s not wrong to want healing, but suffering is guaranteed. If we suffer apart from God, what do we gain? We don’t gain. We lose. If we suffer with and turn to God, what do we gain? Strength, courage, and comfort; it comforts me to lean on God when I’m hurting. When I am hurting, I can turn to God. If I reject Him, from where will my comfort come? You cannot secure healing by turning away. Reading my Bible helps me understand and grow stronger in hope.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:10
The Power of Suffering
Suffering changes you. Paul says here that when we suffer we become like Jesus, dying, in our case to sin, and resurrected in immortality where suffering can never touch us again. Hell is depicted as eternal suffering; therefore, if we choose to suffer here apart from God, we lose all hope for an end to suffering when we don’t turn to God.
Biblical wisdom teaches us. There are many verses that talk about everlasting punishment. Matthew 18 and Matthew 25 talk about eternal fire; Mark 9 says, Hell is, “where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.” and the Bible promises in 2 Thessalonians 1 says that those who don’t know and turn to God will be punished with eternal destruction.
But for me, and I dare say for most who Christians who are struggling with a life circumstance they never expected, I love Him more now than ever. The more desperate I become, the closer I get to Him. That’s why I love the Bible because it teaches me I can turn to God because He’s my only true hope. To turn away would be blasphemy considering what He’s already done for me. Does anyone who asks that question – why – ever considered what He’s already done?
Bruised for my Iniquities
Jesus was tried for my crimes, convicted by witnesses that perjured themselves, mocked, beaten within an inch of death, spit on, forced to drag the instrument of His death through the streets, and was nailed to the cross with iron spikes through His wrists and feet until He was dead, yet He never, ever did anything wrong. He was perfect, but we are flawed; He paid the price for me so that I can be free. It’s more than I deserve.
I know that God works all things together for my good, so I will turn to God and love Him now even if my days are hard, for He will hold me up, of that I am sure, and I know with all manner of certainty that one day I will be free.
Let us encourage ourselves with this passage, written by a man who knew great suffering and remember:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18