God’s Will and Suffering

by Jeannette Haley

1 Pet. 4:19 “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

TYPES OF SUFFERING

Financially– Bondage to fear, debt, striving

Emotionally– Relationship with God, others, self

Physically– Hardest because it renders you helpless to change the first two!

(Consider Job who suffered in all three areas – Loss of herds and crops (financial); loss of children and friends and relationship with God questioned (emotional); total loss of health and well-being (physical)

Some suffer because it is God’s will. Others suffer because of reaping what they have sown; all of us because we live in a tragic, fallen world.

Duty to commit our souls to Him and DO WELL

Realize He is faithful– Creator– Who He is

SOME REASONS WHY WE SUFFER

To keep us from going astray – Psalm 119:67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”

To test our heart to see if it’s fixed – Ps. 57:7 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”

To show us where we are with Him and test our faith – Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

To be a testimony – Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (See also 1 Tim. 6:12; Heb. 12:1; 2 Cor. 4)

Enter into a greater relationship with Jesus – Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…”

Works compassion in us – 2 Cor. 1: 4, 5 “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”

Stirs us up to seek God and pray – Psalm 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

Brings glory to God – John 9:3 Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Keeps our mind on God – Psalm 94:11, 12 “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law.”

For Christ’s sake – Acts 9:16 “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

A Better resurrection – Heb. 11:35 “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection…”

Changes our perspective and keeps us from being too tied to this world – 2 Cor. 4:17, 18 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Builds Christ’s character in us – 2 Tim. 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us…” Rev. 3:18, 19 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Fine tunes our discernment – Psalm 36:9 “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Prov. 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Humbles us – Job 4:19 “How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?” Job 10:9 “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”

Brings wisdom – (Because you seek His face) – Proverbs 2:1-11; 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

Learn God’s love as our Heavenly Father – Prov. 3:11, 12 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”

Causes greater spiritual maturity and teaches us to wait on God – “Romans 5:3, 4 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, endurance; and experience, hope – James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience, But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Removes judgmentalism and lack of mercy – 1 Pet. 4:1, 2 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”

Causes us to return to real Christianity – Rev. 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Separates us to God and causes us to look heavenward – Col. 3:2, 3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Rev. 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Causes a radical will to obey God – Matt. 26:39b “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Col. 3:23, 24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

Causes sobriety and total dependence upon God – 1 Pet. 5:7, 8 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…”

Brokenness – Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.”

Causes us to know God’s love in greater ways – Job 21:9 “They [the wicked] are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.” Psalm 119:75 “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Ho. 6:1 “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”

God’s ways and His plan for your life are far, far greater than your ways and your plans for your life.

Suffering has a way of forcing us to dig deep down into the inner resources (bedrock) of our very existence while, at the same time, reaching upwards beyond our grasp to gain an entrance into the very presence of our Creator. Suffering strips us of everything in our life that is made up of vanity, fake nobility, insufferable pride and intolerable self-righteousness and independence (sin). Suffering is the one doorway into the harshness, tragedy and glories of reality. Suffering has the ability to stretch man’s soul as nothing else can. No, not even hours spent in emotional fantasies of far-reaching grandeur; nor days and years spent searching and exploring the wonders of creation; nor even a lifetime spent in avid devotion to gathering mind-boggling facts can plummet your soul into the abyss of consciousness as suffering. The essence of suffering is to reveal you to yourself and to reveal your God to you in His Omnipotence and Sovereignty. — JH

If you are in the furnace of affliction and would like to receive special prayer or encouragement, we welcome you to write us at:Gentle Shepherd Ministries
P.O. Box 190056
Boise, ID 83719

Jeannette’s testimony of being chemically poisoned and her fight to live:
BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT