People ask themselves, “Why God? Why so much suffering in the world? If You love us so much, why allow suffering in the world?” Those are valid questions and are good to ask. Gay Byrne asked Stephen Fry “Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the pearly gates, and are confronted by God, What will Stephen Fry say to him, her, or it?”
Fry’s answer is not valid since he is using his human mind and looking at it from a human perspective. He is also using his misunderstanding of who God is. Fry suffers from mental problems and has admitted to suicide tendencies in the past so he knows suffering. Instead of asking about suffering he should be asking “How can I turn this around?”
What is suffering? According to the dictionary it means the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. Everybody has experience suffering from the day they are born till the end of your time. Suffering is all around us from illness to oppression. Can we learn from our sufferings?
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
If we can turn suffering into a success story isn’t that more powerful than just giving up on life? In history there are many stories of people who suffered and did not give up. Steve Jobs was diagnosed with cancer but did he give up. Rosa Parks went through suffering, but she stood up and became “the mother of the freedom movement.” Two amazing stories that show suffering can be a good thing.
Now, I want to introduce to you a man named Job. If you know Bible stories then you know his story. He was wealthy compared to today’s world; you could say he was the one percent. He had it all; a family, wealth, and land. Job was one of the richest men in the East. However, God allowed Satan to take everything from him, his wealth, children, and health. As things were taken from Job, he still kept praising God though.
“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:20)
Here you have a man who had it all and lost it all. The Christian life is not an easy life because God asks us to walk in faith. We can’t understand God’s way because we are human and we have human minds. Now with all the suffering we go through, rewards come right after if we stick to God. Let’s go back to Job’s life. After Job lost everything, he still never let the suffering get the best of him. He kept a positive outlook and continue to walk and trust God. After all the suffering God rewarded Job by doubling all his blessings.
“So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters.” (Job 42:12-13)
Yes suffering is a bad, but are you going to stop living your life because you hit a few bumps on the road? If you are still breathing I believe that you still have a mission in this world. You might not be the next Steve Jobs or Rosa Parks, but if you stop you will never find out. My challenge to you is to look in your life and highlight your suffering. Then ask yourself “How can I turn this around?” Even Jesus suffered and He turned it around thinking of you and me.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)