36 Purposes of God in Our Suffering
by Paul Tautges
Joni Eareckson Tada has given us many books on the subject of God’s care for His children in times of suffering. She strikes the chord of authenticity with us because suffering is the world in which she lives 24/7, literally. My personal favorite is, When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, co-authored with Steve Estes. The following list of God’s purposes in our suffering is from one of the appendices in that book.
Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)!
- Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
- God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).
- Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
- Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
- Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).
- Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).
- Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).
- Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10; Rom 8:28-29).
- Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).
- Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8; Ps 119:67; Rom 5:1-5; James 1:2-8; Phil 3:10).
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