WHAT IS SUFFERING?
Suffering is common to everybody.Sometimes, suffering ends when the person is healed of his illness.The bodily cuts or wounds caused by sharp objects or as a result of an accident can make a person suffer in pain and will only ends once the wound is healed.This type of healing is physical healing through the use of medication. The nature and cause of such wounds can bring inner suffering within the individual.
Other form of pain that can cause a person to suffer inwardly is inability to do something, not to own something etc. A person who is physically handicap such as those who are blind,mute etc. suffers until they die unless they look forward to the day Jesus will come to take them to heaven where they will be made whole like everyone else.All kind of abuses leads to suffering.A person suffers when he or she is humilated, rediculed etc.A person suffers when he or she lose jobs. The loss of love ones brings suffering that goes on until a person dies because his or her suffering comes to an end when he or she meets the loves again.Christians should be aware of the pain and suffering around them to be able to offer help.This awareness will help us not to victimize or abuse others or disregard the handicaps.Knowing this too will make us be merciful to others so as not to cause others to suffer at our hands. Our God is a merciful God. The Bible is very clear about this.God's love and mercy endures forever.Pray that God will give us the gift of mercy.The gift of love goes together with the gift of mercy.Love is made complete when there is mercy.
There will always be poor people in this world. Most of the people suffer at the hands of other people. It is most unfortunate that some people had
evil intention to cause hardship, harm and suffering to the others. The strong and capable victimize the weak. Those who have powers abuse their powers. Even employers intimidate or bully their own workers etc..Parents abuse their kids. In the newspapers, you will read almost all kinds of suffering. Drug traffickers think about money and they do not care what the drugs will cause.
God has stated over and over in the Bible that, He hates injusctice and He will avenged the weak and the poor. Anyone who commits this form of injustice will surely receive due punishment at judgement day. Our God is a righteous God and He is a God of mercy. Christians should therefore ensure that they too are merciful to those who work under them.
Tragedies bring suffering of all kinds to us.They come suddenly to us and many succumb to the destruction that it causes. It really disrupt our plans and bring agony and pain. But some find solace or help elsewhere. We all know that, tragedy is often shrouded in mysteries. No matter how smart man is, no one can give us satisfactory answer. During my tragedy, a lot of people ask this and ask that. If this had been done, this will not happen...etc. If we know that such thing will happen, will we permit it? If myself or my wife was at home, we will do all what we can to stop it. You see, in order for the will of God to happen, neither of us must be there. Its not easy to understand moment after the tragedy, but as God's plan starts to unfold as months passed by, we began to realize that nothing happen without God's knowledge or permission. In spite of what others say, we are made aware in our hearts that everything works together for good, to those who believes in God.
Some people even insist that tragedies are punishment for the wrong we have commited. If we tell a person who had a trajedy like that, he or she will be even more miserable. That is actually what the devil wants. All the devil wants is to destroy and continue to destroy until the person is destroyed. We christians must refrain from making ourselves a tool for the devil. Some people always look at the way a person die- say in an accident etc. But we must know that death come to us in all kinds of way.Most are eaten up by viruses or diseases and to me this is similar to those die in an accident. God needs not rush to punish us because everyone of us will stand before God after we die- unless we have been saved.
And yet, while tragedy comes so unexpectedly, like a thief in the night, some of the difficulites and troubles that come our way are often as a result of our doing. For instance, the smoker should not blame others if cancer does come to him because he brings himself to risk by choosing to smoke. Our own desires could lead us into trouble, as what the apostle Paul explains in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. They have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SUFFERING?
Proverbs 20:30 "Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the innermost being."
1 Peter 4:12 " Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you but rejoice that you participates in the sufferings of Christ so that you may be overjoyed."
Galatians 12:10 "That is why for Christ sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardship, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Psalms 126:5 " Those who sow in tears will reap with the songs of joy."
Pslams 103:6 "The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed."
Job 5:17-18 "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He wounds but He also binds up; He injures but his hands also heal."
Proverbs 3:11-12 "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father the son he delights in."
Isaiah 49:13b "For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones."
Romans 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who had been called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?Shall trouble, or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"
Nobody wants to suffer.From the verses above, sufferings do bring some kind of good things in the end.
Suffering that suddenly come our ways is often seen as an affliction, to wake us up and to bring our life to a focus. The Bible does tell us that affliction has a purpose upon a person's life. It could be due to a person moving away from God, and God, due to His great love wants to get back his attention to God. It could be that God has a specific purpose for a person and the only way to refine that person is of course for that person to go through the fire of affliction! Its rather painful, most painful actually for a person to be squeezed thoroughly but when he finally goes through, he is a different person already. When a person is in total dispair, he normally run back to God.
JOY AND THE OIL OF GLADNESS
In the beatitudes, Jesus says that those who mourns will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).The Psalmist and Isaiah also mentioned the same- mourning will turn to joy or oil of gladness. Songs are important to the sufferer or those who are heart broken.It appears that God put songs in the heart of those who are deeply wounded within to comfort and soothe the heart.It acts like oil to soften the wounds.There will be songs in the heart for those who had surrendered themselves to God during the tragedy. From brokenness comes surrender. For those who do not give up themselves to God and acknowledge His sovreignity, they shut themselves to God's comfort and healing.For when we surrender and believes in God, the River of Life flow within to bring the healing that we need. Even in the midst of suffering, praising God and acknowledging Him is triumph in the spirit. People who continue to hold on to their difficulties will continue to experience suffering until they give themselves to God. Suffering is coming to the lowest level humilation.Only when we are down can we be lifted up. So when we are down, God will lift us up.
WHAT DID THE BIBLE HEROES THINK?
When we think of the suffering and tragedies that many of us had faced recently, had we ever thought of the suffering that many of God's people in the Bible had faced or experienced before? For instance, how did Jacob felt when his son Joseph did not return? Or how did Joseph himself felt when his own brothers sold him as slaves to some traders? What aboutJesus' disciples who had been tortured and killed in all kinds of ways? What about Job who lost 6 children in a night?
Everything work for good to those who love God.God had a purpose in everything. It might take time but surely, everything will work out for our good in the end, as we put our trust in Him.
THE PRICE OF SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE
So you know God gives us experiences with Him who is invisible through heartaches and tragedy.More than anything else in the world, we need some hard times!We need some times to be broke and lonely and forsaken and forgotten!We need some enemies, some heartaches and some battles. If we didn't have heartaches and times of despondency, loneliness and brokenness, we will not seek help from HIM.....Moses was hated by his family and race, Elijah was chased away..Jeremiah was a weeping prophet...Daniel was put in a lion's den, David was chased by Saul, John the baptist lost his head..Peter crucified upside down...James was mertyred...and the list goes on...
THE STORMS OF LIFE
Our body is like a ship for our spirit.We sail this life in our ship. Sometimes we sail through a calm sea but sometimes we might face a rough sea. There is no smooth sailing in this life because this world is already full of evil. When we face the storms of life sometimes brought about by our lack of knowledge and brought about by the evil forces of the dark world, our foundation is important. Jesus said that whoever listen to the Word of God and practice it is like a wise man who build his house upon the rock.When the floods and winds beat against it, the house stood firm.But those who listen to the word of God but do not practice it is like a foolish man who build his house upon the sand.When the storms and floods came, the house collapse.
So dear friends, if in this life you had faced such difficulties and sorrows like mine, you are facing the storms of life. If your foundation is Christ, you will not be moved.
SEEING THE ONE WHO IS INVISIBLE
Tragedies bring us to acknowledge the One who is invisible and will be able to SEE Him too. That is why, as we go though this suffering, we will have the previledge to meet God, an experience many people cannot have when they are in comfort.Tragedies squeeze out bad things in our life and enable us to begin a new beginning and a new life. These are some of the good things that come out of tragedies.