Suffering is one of the most difficult and often perplexing realities that Christians must face. It comes in different forms and with levels of intensity. Suffering can either strengthen our faith, leave us disillusioned, or, tragically, it leads some to walk away from Christ altogether.
Thankfully, God has not left us helpless in our suffering.
Not only do we have God's personal presence through the Holy Spirit, but we also have the truths and promises of his Word to help us. In Secret Church 12: The Cross and Suffering, David Platt walks us through what amounts to a biblical theology of suffering (75 key texts from Genesis to Revelation). Platt lands on five foundational conclusions, each of which could merit a separate book. In your own suffering, remember these five truths:
1. A high view of God – his sovereignty, his wisdom, his goodness, and his glory – is essential for understanding suffering in your life and in this world.
2. A humble view of man – his sinful depravity and small perspective – is essential for understanding suffering in your life and in this world.
3. The ultimate reason suffering exists is to exalt the glory of God's grace through the suffering of God's Son for the salvation of undeserving sinners.
4. God ordains suffering for the Christian in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes.
5. The completion of the Great Commission will include great suffering, but eternity will prove it was worth the price.
Rather than address your specific situation, something Scripture doesn't necessarily do, these points give us a lens through which to see every trial through the eyes of faith. We may not always enjoy or even understand God's purposes, but we can trust his wisdom, his faithfulness, and his goodness. That is our ultimate hope, regardless of what we suffer.
For more on Secret Church 12: The Cross and Suffering, go here.