“Memory is a golden thing that binds us till we
meet again. Those that loved him lost so much at his parting but gained so much
from his living.”
These are the words from a tomb -
sincere and meaningful words. At the time when he loved God most, death took
him away from us. His wife and his four children have lost his love and care.
Everyone seemed to need him a little longer, but why did the Lord call him
There was a sister who worked hard
for the Lord. She worked alone and silently for the Lord without any complaint
or boasting, and her actions often touched me. One day, to our shock and
horror, we learned that she had cancer. We could almost feel the pain just by
watching her suffer. As time went on, her condition worsened and eventually she
passed away. Watching her, many of us began to ask, “Why did she have to die
such a painful death?” She had always been faithful to the Lord, and never
uttered a complaint against God for bringing her the pain and sickness. Why did
this happen? The above two instances lead to a common question: “Why did God
allow such things to happen?” To answer this question, one must first take into
consideration that the cost of being a Christian is to bear the cross of Jesus.
Meanwhile, it is important to understand the reasons for sufferings. By
explaining why suffering is necessary, this article hopes to help all of us
stand firm in the faith, even in the midst of affliction.
God wants to try our hearts
Has there been a time in your life
when things went so badly that you wished to leave the world? Why do such things happen?
“I, the Lord, search the mind and try the heart,
to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his
doings,” answers the Lord. (Jer 17:10)
But wouldn’t God know the results
of our trials ahead of time? The Lord does know how we would do, but He tries
our hearts for several reasons:
God wants to test our hearts and let us know how
much we can withstand before we fail. It is only through trials that one may
fully understand the extent of his own faith and trust in God.
He wants to show us the extent of our obedience
to Him. Many Christians with apparently strong faith fall when afflictions
come. When problems arise, doubt also comes, and the true nature of faith is manifested.
Afflictions and trials are opportunities for us
to prove ourselves to Him. God is just. He rewards only those who have proved
themselves worthy of such blessings, and punishes those who deserve it.
It is therefore a privilege to be
tried. Regardless of whether we meet with trials or joys, we should remember
that these events are ultimately for our own good.
Sufferings prepare us for the better things to come
God is merciful and loving, and
does not enjoy seeing His children suffer. However, He wants to make use of
these sufferings to prepare us for the blessings which He has promised us.
can be said to be a form of spiritual training which helps to build up faith
until we are fully equipped to complete the commission God has set for us.
When we are faced with a series
of problems that seem endless, we should remember the encouragement of apostle
Paul: “God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your
strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape that you
may be able to endure it” (I Cor 10:13).
As the Lord is a just God who rewards those who
are worthy, sufferings can be one of the means of ensuring that we receive His
blessings. If we succeed in the test God has assigned, then we are worthy to
The scriptures have promised that
“provided we suffer with Him... we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom 8:17),
and “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (II Tim 2:12). Moreover Jesus
Himself has said that “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’
sake, for theirs is the Kingdom
of Heaven” (Mt 5:10).
God has continued to shower us with grace and
love. Perhaps this is now taken for granted, and we may even think it is God’s
duty to do so. Through sufferings, we learn to appreciate the goodness of the
Joseph was sold as a slave by his
brothers and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Throughout the
tribulation, he did not complain to God. On the contrary, he feared Him all the
more. As a reward for such endurance and obedience, Joseph became a prime
minister of Egypt and later saved Israel from a terrible famine. Through
suffering, God had made Joseph fit for his post and worthy to receive greater
Sufferings bring a strayed believer back to God
Sin has a deadly effect on a
believer. Every time he sins, the voice of God becomes more dull. The longer he
continues in this path, the fainter the voice of God will become until he no
longer knows that he has sinned. The time will come when he can not hear it anymore.
Once this happens, he will have lost his guide to heaven.
God loves us and wants all to
complete the journey to heaven. Through His chastisement, He would bring his
stray child back “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises
every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6).
By putting us through “fire,” we
would be refined just as gold is. Malachi 3:3 tells us that God “will sit as a
refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine
them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.”
Through our sufferings, God notes our progress. From time to time, He would
help. When, in the midst of suffering we show the image of God, our test is
The fiery trial of the children of God
Daniel chapter three records an
incident concerning Daniel’s three friends - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
They were Israelites who were taken as captives to Babylon. The story tells of
King Nebuchadnezzar, who make a huge image for the nation to worship. The three
young men disobeyed the king by refusing to carry out his wishes. As a result,
they were thrown into a furnace of tire. To the king’s surprise, they were
unharmed by the fire. They were loosed from the ropes that bound them;
moreover, there was a fourth person in the fire who resembled the Son of God
(Dan 3:2). God’s protection on those who continue to remain faithful to Him
until the end is clearly demonstrated here.
There are three lessons we can
learn from this story:
as the three friends of Daniel were unharmed in the furnace, God will not let
us he harmed in our fiery trials. We must remember that Jesus puts us through
these trials and hardships to build us up so that we can be ready for great
missions, to prepare us for greater blessing, and to bring us back to Him. The
apostle Paul reminded us in II Cor 4:8-9 that as
Christians, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not
driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.”
In all matters, we should continue to praise Him.
The Israelites were loosed of the cords that
bound them. We may still be bound by our sins, shortcomings and weaknesses.
Through the painful process of trials and afflictions, we will be renewed and
freed from the chains of sin.
The Son of God was in the midst of the fire with
the Israelites. Likewise, God will be with us in all our trials: to protect us
so that we may not be harmed; to comfort us so that we may not be frightened.
When met with failure remember that the Lord is always there to comfort us. He
will surely bring new hope.
May God be with you and guide you
through troubled waters.
“This would be my consolation;
I would even exult in pain unsparing;
for I have not denied
the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that
I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient?
Is my strength the strength of stones,
or is my flesh bronze?
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees thee,
therefore I despise my life,
and repent in dust and
(Job 6:10-12, 42:5-6)