What the Bible Says about Personal Suffering

What the Bible Says about Personal Suffering

According to God’s Word, King Solomon was the wisest man on earth. But for all his wealth and wisdom, Solomon still had some serious questions about life. We see him struggling with issues of oppression, loneliness, injustice, and more.

King Solomon asked the same questions that you and I ask today: Why do people suffer? How can God allow natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis which kill millions? How can He allow war and disease? What about innocent children who are orphaned?

You might be experiencing your own personal tragedy … job layoff, bad news from the doctor, family strife, or some other trial. You may be asking, “Why is this happening to me and to my family? Doesn’t God care? Isn’t He in control?”

The tragedies and suffering of life caused Solomon to question the sovereignty of God. And maybe you have, too. The Bible doesn’t give us any easy answer to the question, “why suffering?” But there are some truths from God’s Word that can help you better understand the tough times … and give you the encouragement you need to move forward.

First, the Bible tells us that some suffering is simply the result of living in a fallen world.

We live in a world that has been permeated by sin. Sin has infected every part of God’s creation. And that’s why everything from our cars to our relationships “breaks down.” In Romans 8:22-23, Paul says, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now…waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” The whole creation has been infected by sin and is waiting for the day when Jesus Christ will redeem and deliver His creation.

Secondly, some suffering is the result of our own disobedience.

Imagine how long your automobile will run if you never put gas in it or change the oil. If you want to get the most out of your car, you must follow the owner’s manual. God’s Word is our manual for life. It gives us instructions on how to conduct our lives … everything from our marriages to our finances, from our careers to our relationship with God. God has told us how to live. When we ignore His direction, things start breaking down. Don’t neglect your life by neglecting the study of God’s Word. The consequences of ignoring or disobeying God’s guidelines are serious. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). For example, if you disobey God’s laws regarding marriage, it will mean the death of your marriage. Suffice it to say, some of our suffering in life is self-inflicted.

Thirdly, the Bible says some suffering is for our strengthening.

James 1:3 says, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” You stretch and grow in your relationship with God during the difficult times. We can all look back on experiences that we would not have chosen, but that brought us closer to God and matured our faith. Without problems we will never grow in our relationship with God.

Fourth, some suffering teaches us the sufficiency of God.

You can say, “God is sufficient.” But you really can’t believe it until you experience it … when you are forced to trust in God through suffering. Sometimes God allows problems in your life as a reminder that He alone is sufficient to meet our every need. God uses both the good things and the hard things to accomplish His perfect and beautiful plan for our lives. It’s a balance that is necessary for growth.

Maybe you are going through a difficult time. It’s painful and you wonder why God is allowing it to happen to you. Remember, you can’t see the whole picture yet … but God sees it. He knows His plan for your life. Trust Him and accept His control of your life. Then you can find the peace and strength to overcome the suffering.

God has the power to use all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).