Is suffering always the result of being evil?

Hello H,

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Often Christians wrongly believe that if they live a godly Christian life, God will protect them from pain and suffering. But the truth is we as Christians may experience pain and loss in life. This is not always a result of our sin, as some would claim, but rather, for a greater purpose that we may not understand immediately. We may never understand, but we can trust God in these difficult times, and know He has a good purpose.

The story of Job is an example of that. Job “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1), yet he experienced great suffering. Job could not see why the Lord has allowed his suffering. He couldn’t see the heavenly controversy, behind the scenes, between Satan and God. At the end of the story, Job gets rewarded greatly “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).

Suffering is not always the direct result of sin “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1-3). Jesus did not explain the cause of the man’s affliction, but told them [the Jews] that God will manifest His power in healing the blind man (John 9:7).

In the providence of God the inflictions of the enemy are overruled for our good “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). Nothing can touch the Christian except by our Lord’s permission (Job 1:12; 2:6), and all things that are permitted work together for good to those who love God. If God permits suffering and perplexity to come upon us, it is not to destroy us but to refine and sanctify us (Rom. 8:17).

The troubles and disappointments teach us the truth about our frail and dying condition and cause us to rely upon God for support and for salvation. They also produce in us a more patient spirit. This has been the experience of God’s people throughout history, and at the end of their lives they will be able to say that it was good for them to have been so afflicted (Ps. 119:67, 71; Heb. 12:11).

Joseph the righteous faced so much affliction when he was sold as a slave but the Lord had a greater purpose when he was chosen to be the ruler of Egypt. At the end of his life, Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good” (Gen. 50:20).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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