No one likes to suffer. Yet it is through the suffering of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who died on the cross at Calvary, our victory was won. Jesus died the most excruciating and humiliating death. As we learned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John he was condemned by a council of religious leaders, beaten, nailed to a cross, pierced, died, buried, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.
Like him people continue to suffer for various reasons. To sinners such sufferings are like days of doom and are hopeless. They gain nothing, save the disgrace, torture, misery, and death. To Christians however suffering has meaning. It may come as chastisement from Our Lord Jesus Christ for wrongs we’ve done and continue to do. Over and over again the Holy Spirit may be warning us not to go down our chosen sinful paths. Yet we insist in doing exactly how we feel, for many say they are having fun doing these unsavory deeds. It’s then that the Lord may step in to try to change our minds because he loves us. He brings us afflictions so as to guide us back to his flock (Heb 12:5-11).
Our Own Will
Still people have their own will and may decide not to listen to God’s voice. He however will never give up on us. God may decide to turn on more pressure when we refuse to listen. People generally know when they are going astray. Their consciences serve as uniquely accurate barometers concerning the way they live. If they insist on being obstinate after being warned, and being prodded time and time again, the Lord may eventually give up on them. This is when people’s hearts have grown hardened with sin. The results of flagrant disobedience could lead to eternal damnation.
Gift of Suffering
Suffering might well be for our own good (Ps 94:12-13). Saints and believers have learned vital lessons from such afflictions. For one, they would have obtained insights of the relationship between their suffering with sinful behavior. In times of illness they could well have experienced the love and tender care of their caregivers. More likely they depended on family and friends who constitute the body of Christ. Physically and psychologically weakened they come to realize their limitations of their bodies, and place their dependency upon a loving God.
In sickness these ailing persons become like gifts to all those who minister to them. In their state of weakness they are living testimonies of what it means to be broken in Christ (1 Pet 4:12-16). In their anguish the Lord gives them strength to show his love in the world. These individuals are certainly outstanding Christians. People most likely recall the agony of family members, friends, and acquaintances while visiting hospitals and nursing homes. These involved individuals joyfully embrace the Christian faith because they know that their victory has already been won through Jesus Christ, who willingly gave his life for us (1 Cor 15:57).