Dealing With Suffering
Many believe that once a person is saved and becomes a Christian, all of their problems will soon be solved and life will all be rosy for them. There are many preachers today that peddle this falsehood around by means of the so-called gospel of wealth and health. But I want to disabuse our minds and say that wealth and health are not what I read in New Testament Scripture. I rather read a lot about suffering. Read for instance the book of 1 Peter and you will find that in every chapter appears the word “suffer” or “suffering.” First Peter, it has been said, is to the New Testament what the book of Job is to the Old Testament. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Christ’s invitation to “come after [Him]” or “follow [Him]” was an allusion to His own suffering (Philippians 2:8; Matthew 26:39; Hebrews 5:8). The word “cross” refers to the challenges involved in Christian living. Christians are not immune to suffering.
But here is the good news, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not detached from our problems. He feels the pain of our hurts, heartaches and sorrows (Hebrews 4:15). During His earthly life, He was moved when He saw people in distress. On one occasion, when He saw a crowd of hungry men, women and children He used five loaves of bread and two fish to miraculously feed them (Matthew 15:32-39). He wept when He stood at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). What blessed assurance and comfort to know that Christ is touched with our grief and He empathizes with us!
So, one way of dealing with suffering is remember that Christ knows how it feels to hurt and for that reason He will help us bear hardship if we prayerfully ask Him to. Another way is about anticipating trials. When Jesus prepared His apostles for persecution, He taught them saying, “In the world ye will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Suffering is woven in the fabric of life. But Jesus meant an ungodly world that would antagonize the child of God. Now, while some may find strength in alcohol or drug abuse we are helped by the Saviour who “knows all about our struggles and will guide us till the day is done.”