Suffering and the Believers
God’s plan of righteousness by faith brings peace and joy not only in times of success but also in times of suffering, distress and persecution. The hope of future glory and the endurance of present trouble go hand in hand. Jesus noted this fact when He said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Suffering actually helps the believers in the following ways:
1-It purifies, refines, and sanctifies the character. “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5: 3,4 also Isaiah 48:10; Hebrews 12:5–11).
2-It cultivates trust and dependence on the Lord. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalms 34:19 also Isaiah 63:9; Hosea 5:15).
3-It exerts a holy influence upon the mind. “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
4-It humbles pride and subdues self. It is often the way of bringing the will of the believer in line with God’s will. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing“ (James 1:2-4).
5-It tests the believer’s faith and the truthfulness of his profession as a follower of Christ. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10 and Psalms 66:10).
6-It gives a place for the exercise and perfection of faith. For faith is strengthened by exercise. “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice“ (Jonah 2:2).
7-It helps the Christian to see things in their true value. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
8-It creates in the Christian a fitness for glory. He finds it easier to set his affections on heavenly things. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1, 2 and 2 Timothy 4:5).
9-It proves the foolishness of human wisdom by placing the believer in difficult positions, where his own helplessness and need of the Lord becomes clear. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
10-It consecrates human relationships. Nothing contributes more to the understanding of others than suffering. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
In His service,