The Purpose of Pain and Suffering

(Meditating on Psalm 61)

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
(Psalm 61: 1-2)

David here is desperately crying out to God again. Just like David, I am a woman who has known the depths of human pain and suffering. Why is there suffering for the children of God? Why does God even allow it? Of course, for years that I’ve been intimately acquainted with pain and suffering and have been studying His Word in light of this, I have gathered several reasons as to why. For really, Scriptures clearly answers these questions.

God allows suffering for His children for the following reasons:

  • To humble and prove them, and to know what is in their hearts, whether they will obey His commandments or not. (See Deut. 8:2)
  • To test their faith and teach them to trust in Him alone and put their hope in Him.
  • To draw them closer to Him to KNOW Him more: His compassion, power, comfort, unfailing love.
  • To teach them precious lessons that couldn’t be learned otherwise. As I myself have learned: The most valuable lessons are learned in the hardest trials. One would learn to love deeper and show mercy and see life through the eyes of Christ. (Additional readings: On Chastisements and  A Holy Place).
  • To purify them as gold is purified in the fiery furnace. God knows the depths of our hearts more than we do. He inflicts pain, that is, fiery trials, to remove in us those things that are undesirable. (For more on this, see God’s Jewels).
  • For them to be partakers of Christ’s suffering. As the Apostle Paul had written, For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29). And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Rom. 8:17).
  • So that (and I believe this is of utmost importance), He will be glorified when He raises them up. They will testify of His great mercy and goodness, healing miracles, and mighty power.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. (Phil. 3:10)

Many times in the gospels, we read how the healed glorified God. They are healed, delivered from their pain and suffering, and as they are raised up from their languishing, they glorify and worship God and rejoice in Him. The Lord Jesus shows this in John 9, in the story of A Man Born Blind Receives Sight.

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:3)

And again in John 11, in the raising up of dead Lazarus, the Lord said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it (John 11:4). 

In the midst of David’s afflictions and suffering, he vowed to praise and worship God once he was delivered. And did he rise up and praise Him! And I, when He made me taste of His healing miracle, and I regained strength in body and spirit, I now know how to appreciate and celebrate life deeper than ever before, to always choose to give thanks fervently rather than complain.

The experience of pain and suffering will teach one to truly treasure every moment he/she has been given as a precious gift from God.

Linked to A Holy ExperienceBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartPink SaturdaySpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodThe Beauty in His GripTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well