So many questions have been asked about suffering, and how God fits into that. The big question: How can a good God allow suffering if He is in control? Many think that He either isn’t good, or He’s impotent to do anything about it.
For those who have claimed Christ, there is some sweet Scripture to answer this query. God has given us “(the treasure of Himself) in jars of clay (our physical bodies) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).
The suffering of those who put their trust in Christ confounds the world because ruin doesn’t come, as would make sense. As a result, many are drawn to Jesus because they see that something beyond humanness is at work in these people. Through suffering Christians, Christ is revealed!
And there is benefit for the Christian himself, too. Verses 16 and 17 in the same passage go on to say: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs (all of our troubles).” And James 1:2-4 says further, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I have seen evidence of God shining out through the suffering of others many times, and am watching it happen even now as I pray for those endeared to my heart who are going through very difficult times. God’s glory truly is shining out through them. I have also been reading Bonhoeffer – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. I have seen in Dietrich Bonhoeffer not only what suffering did for him personally (making him mature), but also how his suffering has opened up the way for many to see the light of Christ (this book is a New York Times Bestseller).
When one trusts God and leans upon Him while suffering, the lost world sees Jesus, and that one gains life in himself and eternal benefits because of it. Not easy, though, so Lord help us to lean hard upon You so that You can do these things in and through us.