Why does God allow suffering if He is so good? This is a question I have heard many times before. I have even asked it myself once or twice when I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. God allows suffering for our good.
Many believe that once we become Christians, trouble will never burden us again and everything in life will be perfect. However, that can’t be further from the truth. The moment you choose to follow Jesus, hell comes for you with a vengeance to make you question the goodness of the God we serve.
Out of nowhere, things begin happening. The car gets wrecked, you are laid off from your job, you receive a summons with the threat of a custody battle, or a loved one becomes gravely ill.
Sometimes trials come one after the other, piling up on life’s plate to overwhelm you. As soon as you get over one situation, here comes another one, much more intense than the one before it. Other times, troubling circumstances hit you all at once, causing you to ask just as Jesus did, why has God forsaken me?
Through years of my own trials, I’ve learned that God has His reasons for why He allows suffering. He either sends it Himself or He allows the enemy to send it so He can use it. In the end, it serves a purpose which works out for our good.
I like to believe that God allows suffering for 5 reasons, and I want to share them with you in hopes of changing your perspective on all you may be going through at this time.
1. To test us.
When God tests us, it is merely a test of our faith. In all our Bible reading, scripture quoting, church going, and praise breaking, when put to the test, will our faith withstand or wilt under the pressure?
1 Peter 4:12-13 (GNT) says, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed.
All believers in Christ will encounter suffering. You must go through a test with adversity in order to exercise and build your faith. How else will you know God is faithful?
2. To strengthen us where we are spiritually weak.
God also allows suffering to strengthen us in areas where we are spiritually weak. I like to think of adversity as resistance training for the spirit.
When my ex walked out on me and our then 1-month old daughter, there were times during the early stages of our separation that I believed his lie when he said I’d never be able to make it without him. I wondered if I could do it on my own with a newborn baby. That is until I found myself doing it without a second thought.
You never know what you can handle until you have no choice but to step up and do it. It is then that your trouble introduces you to a you that you never knew existed. My trouble me made me tougher, stronger, and more resilient. It showed me just what I had down on the inside of me.
Once you’ve been in the thick of it just one time, you develop the tenacity and skills necessary to conquer anything that may come your way thereafter. God builds our spiritual muscle through suffering and adversity. Don’t resist the method in which he uses to do it.
3. To grow and mature us.
Oftentimes growth and wisdom can only be obtained through suffering. In recent years, I had to learn many lessons in spiritual discernment. Making mistakes, choosing wrong relationships, and making poor decisions was God’s plan to develop me. It was painful while I was in it, but the wisdom I gained from the lessons was worth it. You see, it made me better and taught me to make more mature decisions for my future going forward.
For that purpose alone, I believe lessons are hidden treasure too. They are strategically placed within wrong people and places we choose. They come disguised as adversity, but ultimately turn out to be growth opportunities once we peel back the layers. These lessons unlock something down on the inside, enlighten us, and bring us closer to becoming who God called us to be.
4. To remove who or what we no longer need.
The storms of adversity come to rid you of what you no longer need so you can discover what you do. Sometimes, you discover your gift or life’s purpose through the storm.
Everything and everybody that comes isn’t always meant to stay. Some blessings are seasonal. When God is ready to promote you to the next level, He often breaks you with trouble. It may seem as if you’re losing things and people in the process, but really, it’s God’s way of upgrading you to better than what you had before.
5. To show Himself mighty.
If we had no trouble, how else would we learn the character of God? God allows suffering to introduce you to your heavenly Father. It is in the suffering that you get to know Him and all that He is.
When I was being crucified through the family courts of metro Atlanta, going through custody and child support battles over an 8-year span, God proved Himself to be an ever present help in my trouble. He was a lawyer, a judge, protector, provider, defender, my slingshot, my rock. However, I never would’ve known He could be all that and more had I not been afflicted. Sometimes, God wants to use your trouble to not only show you He’s mighty, but to prove to your enemies that He’s your God.
Being in the midst of adversity is no fun while you’re in it. In fact, it feels as if you’ll never get out, but no trouble lasts forever. It does have an expected end. Until it does, remember to encourage yourself with the word, praise and release your worship, and pray without ceasing until you receive a mighty move of God.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.“
Psalm 34:19, ESV
Blessings often come wrapped in trouble just to see how you will react. As much as we like to share in His blessings, we must also share in His suffering. If you run at the first sign of trouble, you just may forfeit the blessing that’s waiting on the other side. Remember, every blessing brings opposition and there is no victory without war. Get happy when trouble comes because you know something great is coming up right behind it if you can endure.
“The sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.“