“The fleetest beast to bear you to perfection is suffering”― Master Eckhardt (German Theologian)
JESUS understands suffering and does not teach us to try to avoid or ignore it, but rather to maintain our faith through suffering.
We cannot help what is happening to us, but we can decide how to think about a given situation and deal with it positively, with insight and divine perspective.
Five Absolute Truths:
God is Almighty
God is Loving
God is All-wise and all-knowing
God is Eternal
Satan and evil exist
Atheists and unbelievers usually stop at the first two eternal truths, namely that God is omnipotent and loving, and then ask the question: “Why does an almighty and loving God no longer alleviate the pain, suffering and sorrow of mankind? ”
With this way of thinking, they come to the conclusion that God does not exist. Yet they acknowledge that evil exists. If evil existed, without a personal God, would the world be overwhelmed by evil? God is, however, also all-wise and eternal.
We must therefore believe that He knows more than we do, and that His time is not our time. From an all-knowing and eternal perspective, suffering looks different. 
We Need Pain And Suffering
Not being able to experience pain is life-threatening.
Not feeling emotional pain makes people unscrupulous.
Without pain we do not become stronger and we do not build capacity. This is beautifully illustrated in the animated film, WALL-E. In the movie, robots do everything for humanity while humans just lie in their chairs, gain weight and watch TV.
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Is. 53:3).
Scripture summarizes Jesus’ suffering and victory as follows: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Heb. 12:2-3).
For faith to become lasting in your life, your faith must be tested. Faith or love that has never been tested does not hold. “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” (Mark 4:17). When we fall away, we lose the eternity and riches that God has destined for us in Christ. In this His perfect love is revealed. We need suffering. This is good for us: “You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” (Ps. 66:12).
In Hebrews 5: 8 we read: “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” He is our Guide on this path. Does Hebrews 5:8 mean that Jesus was full of sin? No! Some experience suffering, but it is due to their own sinful deeds and choices. However, Christ suffered even though there was no sin in Him (Heb. 4:14; Heb. 7:26; Heb. 9:14):
The process of attaining authorship was set forth:
Suffering Is Gain
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been [a]grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not [seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:6-9).
Paul rejoices in suffering: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” (Rom. 5:3).
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9).
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” (Col. 1:24).
Paul Boasts in Perseverance in Suffering
“…so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.” (2 Thes. 1:4).
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:12).
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” (Phil. 2:17).
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” (2 Cor. 7:4).
“that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.” (2 Cor. 8:2).
“but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet. 4:13).
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” (James 1:2).
“ So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41).
“rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12).
God Is Sovereign
“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” (Job 42:2).
“So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” (Rom. 9:16).
“…For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” (Ps. 50:10-12).
God is in control of everything, but He does not control everything:
“‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” (Deut. 32:39).
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.” (1 Sam. 2:6-8).
“Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.” (Ps. 135:6).
“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Is. 45:7).
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy…” (Rom. 9:14-24).
When Suffering is God’s Provision
“And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Gen. 45:4-8).
“The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.” (Prov. 16:4).
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, And drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, And makes their knowledge foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ And I will raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” (Is. 44:24-28).
“If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?”(Amos 3:6).
““Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;.” (Acts 2:22-23).
“…For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:23-30).
Suffering Is Caused By:
- My sin (Rom. 3:23).
- Someone else’s sin (Jer. 32:19).
- The sinfulness and consequent brokenness of mankind and Earth (Rom. 8:20).
- Suffering that God directly allows as discipline (Heb. 12: 5-11).
- Obedience as a result of Satanic Persecution: Our good deeds are not ours only so that we escape persecution, tribulation, and suffering (Phil. 1:29; 1 Pet. 3:17).
Knowing what the cause of my suffering is does not take away the suffering, I may just gain more perspective on how to prevent recurrence. Time must therefore be used to the maximum to find a practical solution in the Lord. “What do you want me to do, Lord?”
How To Handle Suffering
Four Apostolic Prayers:
“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” (1 Cor. 4:9-13).
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor. 4:7-12).
“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor. 6:4-10).
“Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” (2 Cor. 11:23-28).
What Develops In Suffering?
Jesus becomes an author, thus an authority to be able to speak or publish in terms of that which He learned during His obedience (Heb. 5: 8-9).
We also see this in life:
People who continued to follow Jesus and did what He said during suffering carry spiritual authority. One can literally feel it when they talk.
Suffering gives you depth. You grow down into you the roots of your character and become grounded.
Jesus’ death and resurrection made Him the Name above all names (Eph. 1: 20-21).
His suffering gave Him certain spiritual authority.
If you persevere through your suffering, keep your faith, and do what the Lord says to get through it, it leads to spiritual authority. We listen to speakers because they show a certain authority on a topic. How did they gain that authority? They study long hours and pay the price of time, effort and huge financial expenses. Nothing comes without a price!
We struggle with life and we seek answers. We try and try again. We persevere sometimes without seeing any results. We fail and try something else. We learn, we discover, we analyze, we grow! This is how God works with us. The way up is the way down.
First the foundations (the invisible, uninteresting, underground part of the construction) and then the visible and glorious building. If the foundation is not solid and strong, the building cannot hold up – especially not during stormy winds.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
Joseph’s suffering gave him the capacity to become king when it was time.
Paul’s suffering gave him the depth to write most of the New Testament.
Do Not Despise Suffering
Also, do not try to escape or avoid it. Learn what suffering you need to accept and submit to the process, and what not to accept. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Finally the solution is Jesus! Maintain the Jesus attitude, thoughts, perspective, action, character and moral standard in the midst of your crisis.
Pain and Suffering
My two companions
The agents of change
God is placing in my life!
I want to allow Him
to do this work in me
Why then is it so tough?
Don’t I trust?
Oh, to submit to the process of God in my life …
to let go of the past
To partake of the new …
To allow the Holy Spirit
To be the interior decorator
of my heart
Why is it so difficult?
What is holding me back?
Fear and pride, they are no friends of mine,
Have come to visit once again
I think I would like to trade them for
humility and meekness …
In them there is a rhythm of grace
Where we will be safe
The cost is high … It’s everything …
denying of self … death to self and my own will …
I consider the cost …
let it be with me according to Your word,
~ Chantál Oosthuizen
(2 July 2014 at 21:51)
 Zacharias, R. and Vitale, V. (n.d.). Why suffering?.