Is There Purpose in the Suffering of the Righteous?

Photo Credit: FIRST BAPTIST POWELL

By Minister S. A. Lewis

At the start of 2020, we were all eager for a fresh start, a new beginning. Some had resolutions to fulfill, hopes for new relationships and jobs, or just the normalcy of getting through the holidays.

Little did we know that the novel Coronavirus was lurking in the wings, ready to turn the world upside down and destroy what we knew as normal. Along with the pandemic, America saw racism roar back to the forefront with a political divide so deep that it culminated in death and destruction at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. There is so much more negativity that I could discuss, but I refuse to give voice to the devil. We are at the start of another new year; some are fearful, some are hopeful, and some are questioning: is there purpose in the suffering of the righteous? The answer to the questions is yes. There is most definitely purpose in the suffering of the righteous.

Unfortunately, many Christians falsely believe that in becoming saved, that life will automatically manifest happiness and riches when the truth is that “the Christian faith lies not in the removal of weakness and suffering, but in the manifestation of divine power through human weakness.”

II Corinthians 4: v7-12 says:

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%204%3A7-12&version=NIV Bible Gateway

The next most logical question is, what does this mean? It means that we, as Christians are the “jars of clay” who will, in this life, experience pain, sadness, trouble, and fear. But because of the heavenly “treasure” within us, we cannot be defeated. As I have already stated, Christianity is not the removal of weakness, and it is not just simply the manifestation of divine power.  It is a combination of the manifestation of divine power through human weakness. First, know that through every affliction that we can be more than conquerors by God’s power and love (Romans 8:37). Secondly, we are opened to Christ’s abundant grace through our weakness, troubles, and suffering, which allows his life to be revealed in our bodies. Verse 8 explains that if you experience Christ’s presence and power in your life that absolutely no trouble, sickness, or tragedy will cause you to be defeated spiritually. Bottom line, when your human resources are depleted/exhausted, God’s resources are available to expand your faith. The bible tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Verses 11 and 12 tell us that “to minister life to another person, we must share Christ’s suffering and experience the working of death in our own lives.” So, self-denial, troubles, disappointments, and suffering for Christ’s sake will allow our lives to minister grace to others. Think of the lives of Job, Joseph, Paul, and David, to name a few.

Always know that whatever your circumstance, there is a purpose to it, and remaining steadfast in your faith will carry you through the storm. I believe that God is trying to tell us something. So, I will sit, watch, and pray until I know what it is. Amen.

References
Scripture verse https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%204%3A7-12&version=NIV Bible Gateway
(The Full Life Study Bible An International Study Bible for Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, 1984)

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