Ok, here we are on day two of our examination of God’s purposes in His ordination of suffering. This is a difficult and somewhat confusing road for our limited and fallible human minds, but nevertheless I feel God has a lot to say about this in His Word granted that He does not exhaustively give His reasons for particular and specific suffering. Remember also that I am not claiming that these three puposes are an exhaustive list of all of God’s purposes in suffering but merely three that I have drawn from Scripture.
The second leg of this journey through a biblical discovery of why God ordains suffering for the Christian lies in His desire not only for glory, but also for our joy in Him.There is a heightened sense of dependence on God during suffering and the result of this is greater joy and satisfaction found in Him. Truly, that is the purpose for us in life: to receive His grace, to extend His glory to all peoples of all nations, and in the process, glorify God and receive eternal joy from Him and in Him. Therefore, God intends suffering in the life of the Christian for an increase of our joy in Him. Enjoy my thoughts on God’s ordination of suffering in our lives with the purpose of increasing our joy in Him.
While God ordains suffering in order to exalt His glory, He also does so in order to increase our joy in Him. This is the ultimate end for any and all purposes of suffering. Jesus himself commands us to rejoice and be glad as he considers us “blessed” when we are persecuted (Matthew 5:11-12). The apostles in Acts 5, after being beaten for proclaiming the gospel, “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name [of Jesus]” (Acts 5:40-41). Paul continues the theme in Romans 5 as he declares that we as Christians are to not only “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” but we also should “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” (Romans 5:2-3). We can go even further with James as he urges us to “count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds…” (James 1:2). And also in our share of Christ’s sufferings and in the revealing of God’s glory through them, Peter says to “rejoice and be glad” (1 Peter 4:13). While any and all suffering that we face in this life is most assuredly difficult and filled with confusion and sorrow, we can be certain that there is much joy to be found in Christ through it. God may cause suffering to invade the life of a faithful man or woman of God so that when they find overwhelming joy in Christ through it, they exalt the worth of Him above all else. Suffering is to be expected yet the kingdom of heaven, which has laid before it a path of suffering and persecution, is to be discovered with joy (Matthew 13:44).
It is vital to also not overlook the joy Christ found in His suffering. Jesus, despite the horrendous suffering that was before Him, endured the cross for joy (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus rejoiced in the glory that was to come as he would be “seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” We also must find our joy in Him and the promise of eternal life and glory we have ahead of us because of our faith in Him. We must endure suffering for joy that is to come and also rejoice through our suffering as we develop a greater dependence and reliance on Him. The strengthening of our relationship with Christ produces added joy despite great suffering which may not come about without great suffering.
If you are going through a time of suffering, do not seek to find all of the answers, but rather trust in God’s sovereignty, realize His biblical purposes in suffering and above all else, suffer well; for the sake of God’s glory, your joy, and the spread of the gospel to all peoples of all nations. May they see the true satisfaction found in the Father through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in your life despite and through your suffering.
By His Grace — For His Glory — For our Joy