Suffering is anything that makes you worry/grieve and seek to end the pain. If people are going to seek God in this equation, more often than not.. it will be when they are suffering.
There are two reasons for suffering the best I can tell...... training and punishment. Training is to equip you to help save more people in the future and punishment is to bring you back when you have drifted away from God. The only way you will know between the two is to have that conversation with God... he wants a personal relationship with each of us. What I do know is that all suffering is designed to ultimately strengthen your faith. Over time, we will be able to understand some events of our life, but most will be a mystery on earth while beautifully logical in Heaven.
This is a tough topic, because examples are everywhere of good people that bad things happen to .... and a lot of the opposite, bad people that are unaffected and flourish in our society. This is an age old earthly contradiction that is hard for people to come to terms with. God's plan is not our plan.... and the space between the plan we have in our minds and God's plan is called suffering. It is a classic struggle of control that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.
Our society is designed to put separation between God and the people..... Government/courts are pushing God out of public life and back into the churches... and you can feel that in all areas of society that promote power, sex and money over all other things. If we have enough control over our lives on our own.. all is good.... so we can sleep at night. Right? As we sit on the earth that rotates at 1,000 miles per hour, while your heart beats around 115,000 times per day, our bodies have upwards of 30 Trillion cells... and we want to think that we are in control without God. The gap between Gods plan and our plan widens...suffering fills that void the more we are away from God. Suffering is the most misunderstood and most used tool of God.
I believe that some things God does not give us a choice... we may argue... God will prevail.....BUT on most things and the choice to accept Jesus as our savior.... that is OUR choice. Is it not ironic and insanely beautiful that the Alpha and Omega that made all things gives a speck of sand like us the right to make decisions. In fact, decisions that are personal between God and you.
Let's dig a little deeper. King David and his suffering early in life is remarkable as God prepares him to lead his people, but the perfect example and ultimate sacrifice is Jesus....his suffering was of the utmost purpose.....the only man on earth whose plan was in lockstep with God. Nooooooooo, it can't be!... why would any man on earth that was in perfect step with God's plan have suffering? The answer is a big one because Jesus changed everything. Through one person's suffering and love.... other people are affected and saved. The true understanding is that it takes sacrifice from all of us to be saved and even more to save others. I am certain that God has a purpose for every one of us. Just as each of us were designed different, the amount/type/level of suffering will equally be different. Pray for wisdom, pray for clarity to God about your journey. To the degree that we can, see it as beautiful, see it as our Lord calling us, teaching us to put all our faith in him....as Heaven awaits for us and those we reach.
2 Corinthians 4:17 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Romans 5:3-4 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. Acts 14:22 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
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