~ by Mark Maulding

It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not; you are going to experience suffering in this world. In fact, we are told we will definitely experience suffering. Jesus famously said:

John 16:33 (TPT) “And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”

Peter wrote this about suffering:

1 Peter 4:12 (TPT) “Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests, don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you.”

What is suffering? In general, we can say suffering is personal pain caused by life issues.

A big question we all want the answer to is, “What causes us to suffer?” The ultimate reason suffering comes upon us is because Adam and Eve sinned. We now all live in a messed-up world with messed-up people and messed-up bodies.

Causes more specific, however, also exist.

  • Suffering others bring on us, such as rejection, divorce, betrayal, abuse—or persecution, as for some of my friends in Pakistan.
  • Suffering we bring on ourselves from the sins we commit, such as worrying, unforgiveness, or adultery. This suffering also includes mistakes like bad financial decisions or not seeing the other car before we pull in front of it.
  • Suffering that’s a result of circumstances beyond our control. This includes events or circumstances like job loss through no fault of our own, a child born with a mental or physical disability, unexplained health problems, or the loss of people precious to us.
  • Suffering caused by our ignorance of the New Covenant, which results in natural consequences from living according to the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. This includes feelings of condemnation, frustration, and defeat.
  • Suffering caused by the spiritual attacks Satan inflicts on our lives. This includes lies he tempts us to believe about God, ourselves, other people, and life events.

Can God remove our suffering? Yes, he can, but it seems as though most of the time he doesn’t. The great news, though, is that God is bigger than our suffering. He can use it for his purposes to bring himself glory through his sufficient grace.

Paul believed God could remove his own personal suffering, which is why he asked him to do so. We can pray that too. But God had a different purpose for Paul, just as he often does for each of us as his sons and daughters in Christ. He explains this precisely:

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (TPT) “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this.9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.”

So, suffering is not something that is a result of God punishing us for our sins. Jesus Christ took our punishment on the cross such that we will never be punished. Though God is not always trying to teach us something through suffering, he does often use different types to show us how sufficient he and his grace are for us.

© God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Think, Chapter 8, Christians Are Designed to Become Stronger in Suffering, by Mark Maulding
(But feel free to share the blog)

Live Free In Christ,

Mark Maulding, President and Founder

www.GraceLifeInternational.com – Leading Christians Into the Life-Giving Power of God’s Grace

© Mark Maulding (But feel free to share this.)

Bestselling Author God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Thinknow available on AUDIO

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