All of us experience sufferings. It is not true that if we have the wealth, money and power, sufferings will never be a part of life. The more wealth, power and money we have, the more sufferings we face in life. In order to succeed and overcome the problems, affliction, suffering, and hardship, we need strength, endurance, and patience.
The question is, why do people suffer?
Why does God allow sufferings?
Should we blame God and turn from Him?
Can troubles and suffering actually make us better people?
Is it possible to faithfully endure our difficulties?
What solutions does the Bible offer to help us endure and overcome our problems, afflictions, and hardships?
The Bible states that “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). We can appreciate these words when we think of the suffering endured by the one who spoke them (Job). Different people deal with different problems and afflictions, and it seems that some suffer more hardships than others do. But we all know by personal experience and from the experiences of those we know, that Job’s statement is true.
Sufferings concern us because it can lead to spiritual temptations. We may be tempted to feel that our trials justify committing sin. We may become so discouraged that we blame God for our troubles, lose faith in Him, or begin to doubt His goodness and mercy. As Job’s wife said, “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9).
There are many reasons why people suffer. Sometimes people suffer because they sin against God. King Saul lived a miserable life and was killed because he had rebelled against God (1 Chronicles 10: 13-14). Remember Judas Iscariot? He killed himself because he had betrayed Jesus (Matthewww 27: 3-5). Likewise today, alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts may develop disease, thieves may be imprisoned, etc. Some people think this is the only reason people ever suffer, but we will see that it is not.
Other innocent people suffer also as a result of other people’s sins. This can happen accidentally like while walking on s street, bumped by a reckless driver or when a thief violently attacks his victims. In other cases wicked people may harm righteous people because they resent them. This kind of religious persecution is described in many verses. 1 Peter 2:19-23 – Jesus is an example of one who committed no sin at all, yet He was persecuted and killed by wicked men. So we may follow His example and suffer, not for our faults, but when we do good. John 15:18-20 – The treatment Jesus received should warn us of the treatment we can expect. The world hated Him and persecuted Him, and it will do the same to His servants. 2 Corinthians 11:23-26 – Paul’s life shows that Jesus’ followers truly often are persecuted.2 Timothy 3:10-12 – All who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution.(See also 1 Peter 4:12-16; Heb. 11:35-38; 1 Thess. 3:2-4; Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Gen. 50:20)
We suffer as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. God originally placed Adam and Eve in a state of bliss with no problems of any kind. But He warned them of the consequences of sin. When they sinned anyway, He decreed they would endure pain, suffering, hardship, and eventual death (Gen. 3:16-19). All people since that time have endured these same problems. In particular, because of Adam, all people die (1 Cor. 15:22; Heb. 9:27).
Much of the suffering people endure, therefore, cannot be attributed to any particular sin committed by anyone now living. It is just the common lot of mankind because sin is in the world. This does not mean, as some teach, that people today are born guilty of Adam’s sin or will be eternally punished for it (Ezek. 18:20; 2 Cor. 5:10). But we do suffer in this life because of it.
Some suffering is a temptation from Satan. Job 1:1-2:10 expressly states that Job’s suffering was a temptation from Satan. He hoped that, because he was suffering, Job would turn away from God. Many other passages teach that Satan is responsible for the suffering of other people. (See 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38).
Some people think that only wicked people suffer, but God is on the side of the righteous and will remove all their troubles. It follows that, if a person is suffering, he must have committed some sin he should repent of. This was the theory of Job’s friends (Job 4:7-9); disproving this idea is a main theme of that book.
But we have learned that even righteous people suffer. We should not conclude that we have been guilty of sin every time we have a problem. Maybe we are suffering because of sin, so we should examine our lives. But maybe we are suffering for other reasons, perhaps because we are righteous. If all suffering was the result of our own sin, and if a course of action led to suffering, then we would conclude it was a sinful act. But we have learned that godly people often suffer for doing right. We should not become Christians thinking it will automatically solve all our problems. If this is our motive, we may fall away when the hardships come.
God should not be blamed for the existence of suffering. If we believe that all suffering results from a person’s own sin, and if we see good people suffering, we may be tempted to blame God or to think He is not keeping His promises. But we have learned that all people suffer, whether or not they are righteous. Faithful Christians of all ages have suffered; we are not the only ones. We should expect suffering to come, so our faith will not be shaken when it does.
The ultimate and primary blame for suffering rests on Satan who tempts people to sin and thereby brought sin into the world. The secondary blame rests upon people, ourselves included, who have given in to temptation and committed sin that led to suffering.
God did create suffering as a punishment for sin, but only after He had given people a life without problems and had warned them of the consequences of sin. When they chose to sin, He should no more be blamed for punishing them than a parent should be blamed when he must punish a rebellious child. (James 1:13,15.)
So, if we blame God and reject Him because we are suffering, then we are doing exactly what Satan wants us to do. He has defeated us! The only way to defeat Satan and really overcome hardship is to maintain our faithfulness to God in spite of it.