373. Mandatory Suffering - Pastor Chai

373. Mandatory Suffering - Pastor Chai

This is Pastor Chai’s post from his Facebook blog.

The New Testament often mentions suffering. It seems that the authors of Scripture think that suffering is a natural part of being a people of God.

My Christian life has been relatively free of extreme suffering, so I sometimes wondered if I was a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God. However, I realize that I did experience my share of suffering but simply don’t remember it because Jesus turned it for good.

I think there are three reasons why God's people suffer.

First, it is because of Satan's attacks. The world is ruled by Satan. When someone under his control starts to become interested in Jesus, Satan is not going to sit back and do nothing. He may make your boss give you too much work so you don't have time to think about faith, or he may get your relatives to mock and ridicule your interest in faith to prevent you from believing. If you do accept Jesus as your Lord, Satan will then try to hinder the growth of your faith by causing trouble or hardship in your life.

Second, it is to make us like Jesus. A boxer can’t just study the theory of boxing and analyze matches to be a good boxer. He must fight rounds in the ring to become good. Likewise, we become like Jesus by experiencing conflict with our neighbors or going through mishaps or incidents.

Third, spiritual battles are to be won. Some spiritual battles can only be won through suffering. Jesus had to go through the suffering of the cross to conquer sin, sickness, Satan, and ultimately death. Job in the Old Testament also preserved God's honor through his extreme suffering. I think this is the case when faithful believers experience suffering for no apparent reason.

Suffering itself is not enjoyable; it is scary! We want to avoid it. However, God gives us the strength to endure it or will provide a way to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). That is why we can stand firm, in the face of any kind of suffering.