Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Reasons for Suffering, and the Reasons for Blessings

I've noticed that, often when someone is suffering. People seem to think that because they are suffering, God must be punishing them for a certain sin. This is not so, even though all suffering is a result of the fall of man, all our suffering is not always a punishment for a particular sin. Suffering has more purposes in our lives than just punishing our sin. Lets look at what James has to say.

James 1:2"Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. For we know that the the testing of our faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have it's full effect, that you may perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

From this passage it is obvious to us that there are more reasons for suffering than just for punishing sin, as many people tend to think.
If you read the book of Job, you will find that just because we are suffering doesn't mean that we are being punished for a particular sin, as Job's friends thought. The Bible says that Job was a righteous man, not perfect, but he was righteous. And from the conversation God has with Satan, it is obvious that he was not punishing him. Therefore, we know that God uses suffering to do many things, not just punish sin.

God may use suffering in our lives to teach us to trust him more, to test our faith or maybe he his doing it for a reason he does not want to reveal to us.

Now let's look at the opposite side of this. What if we are being blessed by God? Does that mean that we are being rewarded because of a good deed that we preformed? This can be the reason, but to say that our good deeds are the only reason for our blessings would be sort of placing credit where credit isn't due. The only reason we are even able to do good is because of God's Grace. We are blessed because the goodness of God's heart, not ours.


Margaret Neufeld said...

Well said. Also, along with that, I think you could also say that just because we're facing a trial in our lives, that doesn't mean we are a horrible Christian. We are still in the flesh! Nevertheless, we must remember that because we are born of the Spirit, we must also walk in the Spirit.

Charlie said...

Suffering or blessing can many times be the direct result of disobedience or obedience. It's not punishment, just natural God-placed consequences to our actions.

Ike said...

Here is a testimony that was posted on "Truth Matters" (bloodtippedears.blogspot.com). It is a testimony that God is sovereign!

Update - Prayer and Help For My Mother, Carol
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Both Carol and myself have been overwhelmed with the many brothers and sisters who have encouraged us with their prayers and financial support! I asked Josh if Carol and I could give an update and share our testimony. There were many tests done on Carols cancer, but the ONKA test is the one that gives the percentage of cancer reoccurrence, and she did score high on this test. For this reason her oncologist wants to keep her "port" in her chest for future chemo infusions and she will be on oral chemo for seven years instead of five. As many of you know, Carol had her entire colon removed and she also had a bilateral "radical" masectomy (includes lymph nodes). She has a hernia at her ileostomy which has to be repaired and her ileostomy must be re-routed. This is something that will be done when she gets all her strength back and her pain is better managed. This doesn't sound very good...does it? Well, "we' claim that God is Sovereign and "we" must bite the whole apple! I do not command the English language very well and I am at loss for words to expess our gratitude. Many of you "we" will never meet this side of glory, but what a wonderful day when all of "us" will be together for eternity glorifying our Lord! "We" wanted to share our testimony with all of you that we shared with Calvary Bible Church.

My wife has had her entire colon removed and she also had a bilateral radical mastectomy. Actually, if I were to tell you all the organs that have been removed from her body, you would need both hands to count them. We have been broken and humbled. The one thing that “we” can say is that even though there are no guarantees that the cancer will not come back and even though my beautiful wife is scarred emotionally and physically, while “we” were sinners…the lowest of the low…God saved us! And that is enough! Even if the cancer comes back, God is enough! He is good! He is precious! He is our treasure! He will satisfy us!

“Whom have we in heaven but the Lord and on earth there is nothing we desire but Him! Our flesh and our hearts may fail but the Lord is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever!”


In Christian love,

Ike and Carol (Josh's parents)