Suffering and the God of Love #3 Is Suffering Necessarily Bad?

Initially this seems like a foolish question, after all no one likes to suffer. It is unpleasant, but that does not mean it is bad. It is possible for something to be unpleasant and yet useful at the same time. Remember that particularly nasty medicine you probably had at some time? It was unpleasant — but it did you good.

There are people who are born without the ability to feel pain. This is actually a grievous disability. They don’t notice when they burn or hit themselves, and it often leads to serious bodily damage. Pain is beneficial. It is a built-in warning signal to tell us that something is wrong. It’s not pleasant, but it is a good thing.

Someone once asked Jesus about the troubling case of some innocent people who had been killed.

‘There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’ (Luke 13:1–3).

When you suffer, or see other people suffering, it’s not important to wonder whether the suffering is deserved or not. Instead, let it remind you of your frailty and mortality. Just as pain is a danger signal to remind us to seek some remedy, so suffering is a danger signal that we are dying creatures — and we need to seek a remedy!

The Apostle Paul knew what it is to suffer. In 2 Corinthians 11 he recounts a list of the things he suffered during his preaching work. He continues in chapter 12 to describe a particular infirmity he had. (There are various suggestions, but we don’t know for sure what this infirmity was.) Surprisingly, this handicap is called a gift from God — it was given to Paul to prevent him becoming conceited (v. 7). But he wanted to be rid of it.

‘Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (12:8–9).

Paul realised that he was suffering for his own good, and so he learned to accept it.

Chris Furniss


Find to read:

  1. Does God stands behind all evil on earth
  2. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  3. About Suffering
  4. Suffering
  5. Suffering continues
  6. Suffering produces perseverance
  7. Suffering leading to joy
  8. Suffering-Through the Apparent Silence of God – Foreword
  9. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  10. Self inflicted misery #1 The root by man
  11. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  12. Self inflicted misery #9 Subject to worldly things
  13. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #1 Suffering covered by Peace Offering
  14. Way of Life
  15. Working Of The Hope



Suffering and the God of Love #Intro

Suffering and the God of Love #2 Is God Responsible for Suffering?

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