Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Is there purpose in Suffering?


But what can I say?  He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.

I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.
Isaiah 38:15, NIV

Why do we suffer in this life even after we have given our lives to the Lord? This is a very common question that not only non-believers have, but also believers. At times we can be tempted to ignore these questions or even avoid them, because (let’s face it) it’s hard. It is easy to fall into the mindset of thinking a life with Jesus should be a life free of problems and suffering, but Jesus never said that it would be.

On the contrary, time and time again, He told His disciples that, if they wanted to follow Him, they would have to die and give up their lives. They would have to suffer for His name. He even said that we are blessed if we are persecuted for righteousness. Now, reading these verses is encouraging, but they still don’t fully tell us the purpose of suffering, or why we have to go through the trials we go through.

I find a lot of comfort and answers in Hezekiah’s prayer after he recovered from his illness. To give some context, Hezekiah had a painful illness, believed to be boils in his skin, and he describes in detail how this had affected him. ‘I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world. Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me”’ ((Isaiah 38;10-12b).

These verses show us that Hezekiah went through something serious and he suffered a lot. The glimmer of hope in his prayer is that he declares that this was actually a good thing which God worked out for His glory and for the benefit of Hezekiah. Verse 17 says, ‘Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.’

I admire the level of humility Hezekiah had to admit that even something so painful and hard could be used for his good. I think that sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves in order to run to God with everything we’ve got but we must remember God is never unkind; His nature is always good. God wants us to give Him everything, but we cannot go to Him with everything, if we are still holding tightly on to things.

We need to acknowledge we are spiritually bankrupt in order to truly see we need a saviour, a hero. But God can use even the worst thing that has happened to us to mould us, to humble us in a way where we can be shaped to whatever He wants, and where He can make something beautiful out of ashes. I believe the purpose of suffering is not only to strengthen our faith, or even to test our faith, but to perfect us into the image of Christ, and to sanctify us until He comes again.


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