Dear Little Princess, Because God’s Word tells us that suffering will come at some point in our lives, yesterday’s letter was about learning to suffer well. You might be wondering, though, why a loving God allows us to suffer, especially when we’re trying to obey Him, do good, and live a Godly life? Is our Heavenly Father really loving at all if He permits us to go through hardship?
Suffering is no fun, not for anyone. It’s not fun for God, either. But He allows suffering in our lives because, according to James 1, the testing of our faith results in patience. We need to learn patience, and trials and testing help produce patience.
I’ve personally learned that during times of suffering and hardship, I pray much more than I ever do during times of peace and prosperity. For me, suffering reminds me of just how dependent I am upon the Lord, something I often forget when life is going well. I need those uncomfortable times lest I forget that I am not in control.
Trials also help us as Christians to remember that our Earthly home is truly temporary. If we’re so comfortable here that we forget to focus on Heaven and Eternity, we have lost sight of what is most important. We cannot forget that Eternity with Christ is our ultimate goal, not to make our life here as comfortable as possible.
There are many writers who have much more eloquently expressed God’s purpose in allowing suffering. Joni Eareckson Tada’s book A Place of Suffering, her pamphlet God’s Hand in Our Hardship, and C.S. Lewis’ book The Problem of Pain are some of the most recommended reading on God’s love and our hardship.
Most of all, we need to remember that whatever God allows us to go through – whether trials or blessings – He does so for our good and His glory. We might not be able to see how something will benefit us or how He derives glory from it. We simply need to trust that when He says it’s for His glory and our good, He is truthful. We may see later on how something that first seemed like a curse is also a blessing, or it may not be until Heaven that we fully understand why He permitted something in our lives. But we do know that He is God and that He is good. There is great comfort in that.
All my love,