Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If God wants me to be happy, why do I suffer so much?

If there is one question I have heard over and over the past few weeks it is the question: “why does God allow his people to go through so much suffering?” In the avalanche of e-mails, letters, and phone calls I have received, many good quotes about suffering have come into vision. I would like to share some of them with you:

John Bunyan (Author of Pilgrims Progress), from his work Advice to Sufferers, England, 1684:

Why then should we think that our innocent lives will exempt us from sufferings, or that troubles shall do us such harm? For verily it is for our present and future good that our God doth send them upon us. I count therefore, that such things are necessary for the health of our souls, as bodily pains and labour are for [the health of] the body.

We should be overgrown with flesh, if we had not our seasonable winters. It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there. The Lord bless all seasons to his people, and help them rightly to behave themselves, under all the times that go over them.

Samuel Rutherford, 1638, England:

“If God had told me some time ago that he was about to make me happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that he should begin by crippling me in arm or limb, and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing his purpose. And yet, how is his wisdom manifest even in this! For if you should see a man shut up in a closed room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light, and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps, and then throwing open the shutter to let in the light of heaven” (From the Letters of Samuel Rutherford)

God through Paul in Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May God bless us with His sustaining joy as we endure suffering!

- Bro. Dave

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