By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
Suffering is a mystery; we cannot explain it with a single formula. In fact, we know from the Bible that suffering can come from at least eight different sources.
We examined four of these sources last week:
- Suffering is a result of sin and punishment. This is the most common explanation and the most straightforward.
- Suffering is a wake-up call.
- Suffering is a form of discipline.
- Suffering is a test.
This week, we look at four more sources of suffering to gain a better understanding of why God allows suffering to be part of the human experience.
5. Suffering is a form of victimization
Sometimes suffering comes not because we have sinned, but because someone else has sinned and we were victims of circumstance. This is, unfortunately, what happens in a sinful world. An unethical businessman uses underhanded practices to earn more profit but many are victimized. A man’s drunk driving results in the death of a family. This is a sinful world and we live in sin. Even if we do not knowingly do anything that harms others, we still live with the consequences of other people’s actions. It’s not a matter of who is right or who is wrong; this is simply the reality we live in. Or could it be that God is making us see more clearly that this world is really not our eternal home?
6. Suffering is a manifestation
When Jesus was on earth, he once healed a man who had been born blind. People asked Him, who had sinned – the man or his parents – that led to him being born blind? Jesus said that neither the man nor his parents were to blame, but that the man was born blind so that the glory of God might be displayed in him. It was so the work of God can be manifested. Throughout history, we have seen similar situations. When suffering comes to a person, we see through their lives the glory of God. Some may be born deaf and mute or some may have no limbs, but their lives are a display of God’s glory and greatness more than many who were born with hands and feet or with sight and hearing. Their lives reveal the great work of God.
7. Suffering is a form of redemption
Some people are willing to suffer for others, just like when parents suffer for the sake of their children. A pair of parents donated their kidneys to their daughter, why? Because of love. The daughter said to reporters, “My parents gave me two lives. The first was when I was born, and the second is my current life. I am alive now because their kidneys are in my body.” Parents suffer for their children because of love, but the perfect redemption is in Christ. He died on the cross for our sins. The Bible says it best in Romans 5:7-8, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let us stop blaming others for our misery, instead, let us think about how the Lord endured all suffering for our sins.
8. Suffering is a reminder of the Last Days
The Bible clearly tells us that before the Lord’s return, there will be more and more suffering in the world. This is the beginning of the Tribulation. In the original text, it says that the Last Days will be like the beginning of birth pangs of a woman about to give birth. We all know that when a woman is about to give birth, the pain will begin. For this world, it is getting more and more painful, the pains are coming more and more in closer intervals. The day of the Lord’s return is near, so sufferings will inevitably increase. Are you ready to meet your Lord?
Previous Post: Sources of Suffering, Part 1
苦難是一個迷, 我們不能用一個單方程式來解釋，從聖經的真理來看，苦難最少可以來自八方面; 我們已經談論了四方面:
苦難臨我們的身上，不是因為我們犯了什麼罪，乃是別人犯了罪，但我們卻成為了受害者，這是罪惡的世界常發生的事。一個無良心的商人，為了賺黑錢，結果便很多人受害; 一個酒醉的駕車，結果使一家人喪命； 這是一個罪惡的世界，我們活在罪惡裡面，不是我們使人受害，就是別人使我們受害。我不是在解釋誰對誰錯的問題，但這是我們正面對的問題，或者，神讓我們更清楚看見，這世界真不是我們永遠的家。
耶穌在世上的時候，曾醫好一個出生就是瞎眼的人，人馬上就問，這是誰犯了罪，是他嗎? 是他父母嗎? 耶穌說都不是，乃是為彰顯神的榮耀，這是神的工作。在歷史上我們常常看見這樣的情況； 當苦難臨到一個人的身份，我們看見的卻是神的榮耀出來; 有又聾又啞的人，有沒有四肢的人，但他們活出的生命比有手有腳，有口有耳的人更榮耀，更偉大，因為在他們生命彰顯了神偉大的工作。
有人甘心為別人受苦受罪，好像父母為兒女受苦一樣; 有一對父母，各自捐了一個腎臟給他們的女兒，為什麼? 因為愛； 那位女兒對記者說： 我的父母給了我二條命，第一條是我出生的時候，第二條是現在的命，我現在活著是因為他們的腎臟在我身體裡。父母因為愛為兒女受苦，但最完全的代贖是在基督裡，祂為我們的罪已死在十架上，聖經說得好，為仁人死，為義人，或許是有的，但為罪人是沒有，當我們還作罪人的時候，基督為我們的而死。不要再埋怨別人給你苦難，要思想主為我們的罪，承受了